An ACDF, or anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, is a minimally invasive procedure used to relieve pain caused by a herniated disc, collapsed disc space, or foraminal bone spurs. The herniated disc and bone-spurs press against the nerve roots or spinal cord, causing neck pain, weakness, tingling, or arm pain down one or both arms.
Using fluoroscopy, a special type of x-ray, the level of the injured disc is located along the spine. A small incision is made on the anterior, or front part of the neck, and a self-retaining retractor is carefully placed. This anterior approach allows the surgeon excellent access to the disc with less disruption of muscle, resulting in less pain post-surgery and a quicker recovery.
Once the disc is exposed, surgeons at Swift Spine Institute use a microscope to remove the damaged parts of the disc in a procedure called a discectomy. Using micro-instruments, bone spurs on the vertebral body are also removed in order to relieve pressure from the pinched nerve root and spinal cord.
The Ceres-C Stand-alone Interbody is a special low-profile implant used to replace the damaged disc. A wedge-shaped cage called a PEEK spacer is loaded with local bone-graft material and positioned in the open space between the vertebrae. Each screw is carefully inserted at a biased angle into the low-profile titanium plate. Cam locks are then rotated to lock the screws, securing the implant and stabilizing the spine as it heals. Over time, the graft material will fuse with the vertebral tissue above and below, forming a bone-mass called a fusion.
The wound is closed with absorbable sutures and a tiny dressing applied. At Swift Spine Institute, this procedure is performed in the Outpatient Surgery Center or hospital.