Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a Minimally Invasive procedure used to treat certain conditions of the cervical spine where intervertebral disc height has been compromised or there has been significant spinal nerve impingement. The goal of this procedure is to alleviate pressure on the spinal nerve root as well as stabilize the spinal vertebrae. The relief of this neural pressure and added stability significantly reduces chronic neck pain as well as radiculopathy in the upper extremities.
This procedure involves the utilization of fluoroscopic visualization and guidance to ensure the precise location of instruments as well as enhanced visualization of the surgical area.
How It Is Performed
An ACDF is composed of two elements, a Discectomy followed by a Spinal Fusion. First, an incision of a few centimeters is made in the front of the neck. Once the skin incision is made and the dissection is completed to the anterior portion of the vertebra retractors are placed and then magnification is used to increased visualization of the area. Next, the intervertebral disc is removed to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerve.
Second, in the empty space where the disc was removed, a cage is inserted for support filled with bone graft to encourage fusion. This bone graft will fuse with the bones above and below creating one stable bone. The use of a stabilizing plate increases stability. The use of the cage also restores height to the disc and prevents the nerve from become entrapped again.
Traditionally, cervical Spinal Fusion surgeries required a longer incision and the dissection of muscles, tissue and nerve fibers as well as hip graft harvest. This “traditional” approach made for a very lengthy recovery period and hip graft site pain. However, using this pioneering Minimally Invasive approach, Dr. Geisler is able to perform this procedure in a “muscle sparing” fashion and minimize muscle retraction. This technique utilizes the usage of a smaller incision, decreased dissection and the use of small instrumentation to achieve the neural decompression and spinal fusions. The recovery profile is significantly expedited.