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Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) account for 90% of all neck (cervical spine) surgeries. At South Denver Spine & Robotics, P.C., Zak Ibrahim, MD, specializes in minimally invasive ACDFs that produce good or excellent results in over 90% of patients. If you have severe neck pain and limited neck movement, it’s time to talk with Dr. Ibrahim about ACDF. To learn how you can get relief from the pain, schedule an appointment by calling the office in Centennial or Castle Rock, Colorado, or Garden City, Kansas, or book online today.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion or ACDF is a surgical procedure to remove a damaged disc from your neck and fuse the two adjacent vertebrae together. Herniated discs and degenerative disc disease are the two most common reasons people need an ACDF procedure.
Both conditions damage the discs, cause pinched nerves, and typically result in debilitating pain. And as these problems get progressively worse, conventional medical treatment seldom helps.
This procedure is an “anterior” cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) because the incision is in the front (anterior) of your neck. Dr. Ibrahim makes a minimally invasive incision that’s about one inch long, which is large enough for the procedure but small enough to cause little trauma.
Using an operating microscope to see the structures in your neck, Dr. Ibrahim removes the damaged disc and decompresses the spinal nerves. He also removes any bone spurs on the two vertebrae.
To perform the fusion, Dr. Ibrahim places a bone graft in the location of the removed disc. The graft maintains the normal distance between the vertebrae and promotes the growth of new bone.
Your bone graft could be a piece of bone taken from your pelvis, or it may come from a bone bank. Another type of graft consists of a mesh cage that contains growth factors. In most cases, Dr. Ibrahim prefers to use a bone graft substitute because it heals reliably and avoids the additional trauma and discomfort of having bone taken from your pelvis.
Once the bone graft is in place, Dr. Ibrahim secures a plate over the bone graft to stabilize the vertebrae while they fuse. Over time, each vertebra grows new bone over the graft, and in a few months, the two pieces become one solid bone.
Most patients go home after a one or two-level ACDF. If the surgery involves more levels, a one-night stay may be required. When you go home, you wear a neck collar. However, the collar is only for comfort, and you should stop wearing it within one to two weeks. If you wear it too long, your neck muscles weaken.
You may have a hard time swallowing, but this goes away within six weeks. People with non-manual jobs can get back to work within 7-10 days. After healing for about six weeks, patients are frequently back to full levels of activity.
Don’t put up with neck pain and stiffness. Call South Denver Spine & Robotics, P.C., or request an appointment online today.