Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (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 injury, there are limited operation options. Cervical spine surgery may be considered for a person who has neck or arm pain/weakness, pain between the shoulder blades, or down the arm.
Before surgery, conservative treatment options are often considered beginning with observation from 4-6 weeks. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or Tyenol may also be tried, but the goal is to avoid muscle relaxant medications at first. If none of these methods help ease the pain, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or acupuncture will be considered. Eventually, an MRI can be performed to evaluate for nerve compression from disc bulges or herniations, bone spurs, or other compression forces.
If the patient does not improve with conservative options, surgery may be considered. Surgical options include posterior tubular minimally invasive foraminotomy, ACDF, or artificial disc replacement (ACDR). ACDR is a good option for a patient with one or two spine levels requiring attention. ACDF, however, can be performed much more universally for many different conditions. It is the “workhorse” procedure for the cervical spine.
For further information on the ACDF procedure, click here.
Our surgeons at Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute are BOARD CERTIFIED and routinely perform ACDFs. Contact us to schedule an appointment.