Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion

Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a type of neck surgery that involves removing a damaged disc to relieve spinal cord or nerve root pressure and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. A discectomy is a form of surgical decompression, so the procedure may also be called an anterior cervical decompression. The surgery has 2 parts:

  • Anterior cervical discectomy – The surgery is approached through the anterior, or front, of the cervical spine (neck). The disc is then removed from between two vertebral bones.
  • Fusion – A fusion surgery is done at the same time as the discectomy operation in order to stabilize the cervical segment. A fusion involves placing bone graft and/or implants where the disc originally was in order to provide stability and strength to the area.

While this surgery is most commonly done to treat symptomatic cervical herniated discs, it may also be done for cervical degenerative disc disease. It is also commonly done to remove bone spurs (osteophytes) caused by arthritis and to alleviate the symptoms associated with cervical spinal stenosis and may be done for one level, or for more than one level, of the cervical spine.

Surgery Approach

An ACDF is done with an anterior approach, which means that the surgery is done through the front of the neck as opposed to through the back of the neck. This approach has several typical advantages:

  • Direct access to the disc – The anterior approach allows direct visualization of the cervical discs, which are usually involved in causing stenosis, spinal cord or nerve compression, and symptoms. Removal of the discs results in direct nerve and spinal cord decompression. The anterior approach can provide access to almost the entire cervical spine, from the C2 segment at the top of the neck down to the cervicothoracic junction, called the C7-T1 level, which is where the cervical spine joins with the upper spine (thoracic spine).
  • Less postoperative pain – Spine surgeons often prefer this approach because it provides access to the spine through a relatively uncomplicated pathway. The patient tends to have less incisional pain from this approach than from a posterior operation.

After a skin incision is made in the front of the neck, only one thin vestigial muscle needs to be cut, after which anatomic planes can be followed right down to the spine. The limited amount of muscle division or dissection helps to limit postoperative pain following the spine surgery.

Cost

The cost of anterior cervical discectomy fusion is based on several considerations. This can include both the extent of the procedure and a patient’s insurance carrier. Medicare can cover this procedure if it is deemed necessary treatment. BEST accepts Medicare, most private health insurances, and works with workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases at all of our centers. 

Reach out to BEST Health System Today

To learn more about anterior cervical discectomy fusion and if it is right for you, contact BEST Health System today. Our caring and experienced team of treatment professionals can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that is right for you. We are dedicated to getting you the quality of life you deserve.   

Procedure Doctors

Headshot of Jeffrey Shall, M.D.

Jeffrey Shall, M.D.

Neuropathy Specialist & Spine and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Headshot of D. Philip Stickney, M.D.

D. Philip Stickney, M.D.

Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon

Brainard ASC

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