Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is the most common procedure for cervical radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a description of a problem in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly. It restores alignment of the spine, maintains the space available for the nerve roots to leave the spine, and limits motion across the degenerated spine segment.
“Anterior” means that your surgeon will approach your neck from the front. The surgery involves operating from the front of the neck through a 1- to 2-inch incision along the neck crease.
During the procedure, the problem disc is removed. The left over area is stretched, so that the height is similar to what it was prior to the disc wearing out. A bone graft is placed in the space where the disc was removed. This increases the space in the foramen for the nerve to leave the spine.
After the bone graft is placed, the two vertebrae next to the removed disk are fused together. The fusion eliminates motion between the degenerated vertebrae.
The goal is to lessen pain by limiting painful motion between vertebrae. A metal plate and screws are commonly used along the front of the cervical spine. They provide stability and help increase the rate of fusion. Bone graft is used to fill in the space left after the disc is removed. It is primarily used to stimulate bone healing and help the vertebrae to fuse together into a solid bone. A bone graft can be obtained from the patient’s hip. This type of graft is called an autograft. Harvesting a bone graft requires an additional incision along the hip and lengthens surgical time. Although autografts have been used with good results, some people may experience pain at the hip for some time. One alternative to harvesting a bone graft is an allograft, which is cadaver bone. An allograft is typically acquired through a bone bank. The use of allograft has grown because it avoids the risk of pain at the donor site. There are risks and benefits for both types of bone grafts, which your surgeon will discuss with you.
Conditions Treated by Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Symptoms Treated by Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Claudication in the legs
Low back pain
Spinal Fusion Videos
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