ACDF is one of the most common procedures performed in the cervical spine. Due to the fact that the spinal cord cannot be manipulated without causing spinal cord injury, there is a limited role for posterior decompression-alone procedures in the neck. This is much different than the lower lumbar spine in which the spinal cord has ended above this region and the nerve roots can be manipulated to perform decompressions and discectomies. Lumbar decompressions are common.
Cervical spine surgery may be considered in a person complaining of neck or arm pain, weakness, numbness or balance problems. Pain may be in the neck or radiating between the shoulder blades. It may extend down the arm. Weakness, numbness or tingling may be present in the arms or hands.