Learn About ACDF Surgery

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery allows surgeons to access the cervical spine through the throat area. This portion of the spine is more accessible through the front since the spinal cord, and neck muscles do not need to be disturbed.

COMMON CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS

Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy involves irritation or compression of the nerve roots in the neck. This may be caused by degenerative changes due to age, herniated disc, or spinal instability. The first symptom is typically pain or muscle stiffness in the neck region. This can be followed by pain in the arms, shoulders, back, and chest and may cause weakness or numbness in the hands, arms, and shoulders.

Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy involves compression of the spinal cord in the neck. This may be caused by a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease (DDD), tumors, osteophytes (bony projections), fracture, or trauma to the cervical spine.

Symptoms may include:

  • Problems with fine motor skills
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck
  • Loss of balance
  • Trouble walking
  • Weakness in arms or hands
  • Numbness or tingling in arms and hands
  • Clumsiness and poor coordination of the hands
  • Difficulty handling small objects

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal starts to narrow. When the spinal canal narrows, the open spaces between the vertebrae may also start to get smaller and this tightness can pinch the spinal cord or the nerves around it. For most, the stenosis results from changes due to arthritis, but may also be due to ossification (bone formation), osteophytes (bony projections), herniated discs, injuries, or tumors. Symptoms may include pain, tingling, and numbness.

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TREATMENT

Depending on the issue, an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery may be an option when non-surgical techniques do not relieve symptoms.

The primary goal of an ACDF surgery is to reduce symptoms by relieving pressure on the compressed nerves of the neck. The surgery should maintain adequate space in the region to allow nerve roots to exit, restore alignment, and limit motion across segments with degenerative issues. This will improve neck pain, maintain stability of the spine, improve spine alignment, and preserve the range of motion in the neck.

Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms or for more information.

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