Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is an effective solution when non-surgical treatment methods fail to provide relief for a variety of neck problems, including disc herniation, cervical radiculopathy, fractures, and spinal instability. Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon alleviates pressure from the spinal cord and nerve by removing the entire disc and then permanently joins two or more vertebrae.
In ACDF, the patient lies on his or her back, allowing the surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush Minimally Invasive Spine Institute to reach the damaged disc from the front (anterior) of the neck through a small incision, about one inch long. This approach allows the surgeon to avoid injuring the important neck muscles through the use of special instruments to push muscles aside rather than cutting them. The surgeon uses instruments to remove the damaged and protruding disc, as well as any remaining bone spurs, to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Once the disc is removed, a gap remains between the vertebrae. To prevent rubbing and collapse, the spine surgeons at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush insert a bone graft or plastic cage. A metal plate may also be needed for stability. Typically patients leave the hospital the same day or the day after this surgery. Within three to six months, new bone should grow around the plates and screws, resulting in fusion at the surgery site.