Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure that removes damaged, degenerated or herniated discs from the neck. Once the affected disc is removed, the adjacent vertebrae are fused to ensure spinal stability. It’s an “anterior” procedure because the surgeon creates an incision on the front of the neck to access the cervical disc.
The ACDF procedure is conducted under general anesthesia. The front of the neck is cleansed and prepared for surgery. Dr. McHugh creates an incision on the front of the neck, either the left or the right side. After creating the incision, the surgeon moves the muscles and tissues aside to access the affected intervertebral disc, visible through fluoroscopy.
Dr. McHugh uses specialized surgical instruments to remove the affected or ruptured disc or its fragments, including the bone spurs and herniated disc fragments causing nerve compression. Removing the bone spurs and herniation fragments take the pressure off the spinal nerve roots. Next, the surgeon plants bone grafting material into the cavity to encourage bone growth.
Bone grafting material can be derived from the patient’s own body, a donor bank, or other synthetic materials. The bone grafting material is attached to a metal plate and placed within the cavity. Over time, your bone grows around the bone grafting material, fusing the two vertebrae for optimal stability.