What is ACDF ?
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a minimally invasive spinal surgery which is done to remove a damaged disc which is causing pressure on the nerve root, thus alleviating the pain. In this procedure, an incision is made in the throat area to reach the front of the cervical spine.
The disc material which is pressing on the spinal nerve or spinal cord is completely removed. The bone channel through which the spinal nerve runs is enlarged with a drill giving the nerve more room to exit the spinal canal. A “peek cage“ is placed in between the vertebrae to prevent them from collapsing and to enhance fusion.
After the physical assessment, you shall be medically investigated for your spinal problem. Once investigations and medical assessment are completed your surgery shall be planned. You will be advised to get admitted on the day of surgery.
The procedure is explained to the patient/ relative in detail and consent is undertaken. Pre-anaesthesia checkup (PAC) is done. An intravenous line (IV) is given to provide fluids. You are shifted to OT for the procedure. You are given anesthesia before surgery. Post-procedure, you will be moved to Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and once fully awake, you will be moved to the hospital room. You shall be given a cervical collar or brace to provide support while your neck is healing.
You are monitored in the room and shall be given appropriate medication including pain relievers. You will undergo mild therapy to help heal and strengthen your cervical spine.
Pain management and physical therapy shall continue as per your medical status. Discharge process is undertaken. You will be appraised about the post-discharge exercises to be done at home and will also be explained about the discharge medication and follow up. You will be discharged in stable condition.
You shall be advised to visit the doctor after 7 days. You shall also be advised physical and occupational therapy to help restore you to your normal activities of daily living. Bending, twisting, and lifting will be advised against for a period of time after surgery. You cannot drive a car until you are out of the cervical collar, have sufficient neck range of motion to see while driving.
Follow up is necessary as then only it will be seen whether the recovery is taking place as usual or not. There may be need of extensive rehabilitation if the spinal cord was injured from a neck fracture. Physical therapy sessions should be attended by the patients for two-three months. Slowly, active treatments will be added that will stabilize your neck and upper back.