Sometimes these discs can become damaged, causing a considerable amount of pain. ACDF usually offers tremendous relief for patients who experience neck and back pain, stiffness or difficulty moving.
This surgery removes a herniated or degenerative vertebral disc in your neck and replaces it with a bone graft. This can relieve painful pressure on spinal nerves.
How does ACDF surgery work?
The technique for ACDF is slightly different from similar surgeries in that the surgeon makes an incision in the front of the patient’s neck rather than the back. It’s easier for the surgeon to reach the spinal column through the throat because entering any other way can potentially harm the neck muscles and spinal column. The physician will then move the tissue inside the neck and throat aside to access the spine and remove any damaged discs.
To make sure the spine is aligned and to prevent the bones of the spine from rubbing against one another, the surgery typically includes the fusion of at least two bones in the neck. It is at this point during the procedure that the surgeon replaces the damaged disc. Once the replacement disc is in place, the surgeon uses a titanium plate and screws to reattach the bones. In the last step of the procedure, the tissue of the neck and throat are moved back to their original location and the wound is sealed with stitches.
What will happen after the procedure?
ACDF is usually an outpatient procedure, which means the patient will be able to go home the same day as the surgery. The operation takes place under general anesthesia, so the patient will be asleep. After surgery, most patients experience pain that can be managed with pain medication. Recovery takes several weeks, and some people may need to wear a collar to stabilize the neck and allow it to heal. Most patients are instructed to avoid strenuous activity until they meet with a doctor 4 to 6 weeks following surgery for a check-up. After being assessed by their physician, patients typically begin physical therapy. Physical therapy after surgery aims to reduce pain and restore mobility to the area.
If you would like to learn more about ACDF or schedule a consultation, request an appointment with NewSouth NeuroSpine. We are committed to treating and caring for each individual.