ACDF / Anterior Cervical Discectomy And Fusion
Table of Contents

ACDF Surgery

All along our spine, the vertebral bones are cushioned by discs in between. These intervertebral discs allow our neck to bend and rotate. However, there are cases wherein wear and tear on discs can cause degeneration/thinning or herniation that compresses the nearby nerves or spinal cord. If this happens in the cervical (neck) region, cervical discectomy and cervical spinal fusion are two procedures that can help. 

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery in Hyderabad is performed at Arete Hospitals to alleviate neck pain and other symptoms caused by damaged cervical discs in the spine.

Arete Hospitals, Spine Surgery Hospital in Hyderabad offer top-notch spine surgeons who are highly experienced in successfully performing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. With the use of high-end technologies and techniques, this surgery assures quality results.

Benefits of ACDF Surgery

  • The anterior approach of cervical spine surgery is easier as it involves cutting the front of the neck. It is carried out without disrupting the strong neck muscles, spinal cord, and spinal nerves and so results in less postoperative pain than the posterior method.
  • Most patients can tolerate ACDF surgery. The surgery resolves the symptoms of nerve compression in more than 90% of them.
  • ACDF surgery delivers effective pain relief for people suffering from conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. As it releases the damaged disc and fuses the adjacent vertebrae, stress on the nerves is reduced, leading to pain reduction.
  • This surgery helps restore neck function by stabilising the spine. This also helps enhance neck mobility and reduce restrictions caused by pain and nerve compression.
  • Surgery can relieve stress on the spinal cord or nerve roots caused by herniated discs or bone spurs. It also addresses symptoms like numbness, weakness, and tinkling in the arms and hands.
  • By removing the damaged disc and fusing adjacent vertebrae, ACDF surgery can control further degeneration and harm to the cervical spine, reducing the risk of future complications. 
  • This is an outpatient procedure or with a relatively short hospital stay. Compared to some other spine surgeries, it typically has a quicker recovery time, allowing patients to return to their daily activities shortly.
  • Fusion of vertebrae creates a stable arrangement in the cervical spine, reducing the risk of future disc herniations and providing long-term support to the neck.

ACDF or Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

ACDF is a cervical spine surgery in Hyderabad, a type of neck surgery designed in two parts. The first step is the removal of the herniated or degenerative cervical disc and the second is a fusion of vertebrae using bone grafts, metal implants, or both to stabilise and strengthen the cervical segment where the disc was removed. It is recommended by a spine surgeon to relieve pressure off the spinal cord or nerve root and alleviate corresponding pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling sensation.

ACDF surgery in Hyderabad can be used to treat a range of conditions, including spinal trauma, degenerative disorders, tumours, and spine instability. However, this procedure is only advised when all other conservative therapies have failed like physical therapy, pain medication, nerve sheath injections, neck collars, and so on. Besides, it is even performed when spinal compression is severe.

Ideal Candidates for ACDF Surgery

If anyone meets the following eligibility criteria, they may be a candidate for ACDF:

  • Diagnostic tests reporting the presence of a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck area or cervical stenosis/myelopathy
  • Significant arm pain much worse than neck pain
  • Significant arm and hand weakness
  • Symptoms that have not been alleviated by medication or physical therapy.

Before ACDF Surgery

The spine surgeon in Hyderabad at Arete Hospitals reviews the patient’s complete medical history and discusses the current intake of medications. Moreover, the surgeon orders pre surgical tests like chest X-rays, electrocardiograms, and blood tests that need to be done several days before surgery.

The patient is instructed to stop taking any blood thinners, drinking alcohol, and using nicotine a week before the surgery and for at least 2 weeks after the surgery. A few hours before the surgery, the patient must not eat or drink anything.

What Does ACDF Surgery Involve?

ACDF surgery is performed on an asleep patient who is provided with general anaesthesia. The patient is made to lie on the back and then given anaesthesia. After the anaesthesia takes its effect, the front of the neck is cleaned and prepped. 

For Spinal Fusion Surgery in Hyderabad, if an autologous bone graft is decided, then the hip area of the patient is prepped to obtain a graft.

During Anterior Cervical Discectomy Surgery in Hyderabad, the surgeon gets access to the injured disc through the throat from the anterior (front) of the cervical spine. For this, a 2-inch-long incision is made on the left or right side of the neck. The neck muscles, trachea, oesophagus, and arteries are pulled aside to reach the spinal bone or vertebrae. Using a fluoroscope (special X-ray), the surgeon passes a thin needle into the spine to locate the affected disc.

The vertebral bones lying adjacent to the affected disc are set apart using a special retractor. Next, the surgeon cuts out the outer wall of the affected disc, about 2/3rd of it using small grasping tools. A surgical microscope is used to look at the remaining affected disc and remove it. 

The ligament lying behind the vertebrae is also removed to get access to the spinal canal. Lastly, any portion of the disc that presses on the spinal nerves is removed along with bone spurs that press on the nerve root. 

Depending on what is being treated, one cervical disc (level) or more (multilevel) may be removed. Once all of this is over, the surgeon removes the spreader retractors and sutures together the muscles and skin incisions. To close the skin incisions, surgical glue or steri-strips are used.

Usually, disc removal leaves an empty area between the bony vertebrae. A spacer bone graft is implanted to fill the open disc space and stop the vertebrae from slipping and pressing together. Screws and metal plates secure the vertebrae and bone graft. The grafts usually act as a bridge between the two vertebrae. This overall process results in spinal fusion.

Following the surgery, the body continues its normal healing process by forming new bone cells surrounding the graft. The transplanted bone graft typically connects the two vertebrae, creating one solid piece of bone, 3 to 6 months after surgery.

The patient experiences some range of motion loss following the fusion, although this varies according to the number of levels fused. Spinal fusion may end up with a similar or even better range of motion than before the procedure. If the patient has only two or more groups combined, they may be restricted to looking up and down and twisting their heads.

After Discharge

ACDF in Hyderabad recovery often takes several weeks. Patients usually focus on reducing neck pain and swelling during initial recovery. This could include:

  • Taking pain relievers
  • Putting on a neck brace
  • Using ice packs or heat pads on the neck
  • Physical therapy to assist with postoperative neck strengthening and stretching
  • After the initial recovery, patients notice some relief in neck pain, strength, and range of motion. Patients can expect to soon resume their normal daily activities. However, certain activities such as sports or heavy lifting, may be restricted.
  • The spinal fusion may take many months. Until it’s done, the patients must continue wearing the neck brace and participate in physical therapy. For more information contact Spinal Fusions Doctors in Hyderabad at Arete Hospitals.

Risks Associated with ACDF Surgery

ACDF, like any surgical procedure, may be associated with various risks and consequences. Some of the potential risks are:

  • Infection
  • Loss of blood
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to the nerves
  • Difficulty in swallowing (for a few days)
  • Problems with the bowel and bladder functioning
  • Failure of spinal fusion
  • Voice changes (generally improves after a few days)
  • Recurrent laryngeal nerve damage resulting in persistent vocal alterations
  • Esophageal damage
  • Vascular injury or stroke
  • Misalignment of the interbody cage or plate, as well as the screws.
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the ACDF surgery leave a scar?

A small incision is made on the anterior (front) of the neck for ACDF surgery that does leave behind a scar. In some cases, the incision is created in a natural skin fold, and so the resulting scar heals to be barely visible. The level of scarring varies for patients.

2. Is ACDF considered major surgery?

Yes. ACDF includes cutting through the neck muscles and tissues to gain access to the cervical spine. The surgery may take many hours and is done under general anaesthesia.

3. Is ACDF surgery painful?

ACDF is carried out under general anaesthesia by Best ACDF Surgery Specialists / Doctors in Hyderabad at Arete Hospitals and is, therefore, painless. Some pain and discomfort are to be expected during the recovery process. Pain medications, on the other hand, can help with this. However, the intensity of pain may vary depending on the individual's overall health and the complexity of the surgery. 

To learn more about Cervical Spine Surgery Cost or Anterior Cervical Corpectomy Spine Surgery Cost in Hyderabad, pay a visit to Arete Hospitals. It is a top choice for Anterior Cervical Corpectomy Spine Surgery due to its renowned medical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and a track record of successful surgeries. Their skilled spine surgeons, advanced technology, and patient-centric approach ensure the best possible care and outcomes for patients seeking this specialised procedure.

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