When you’re suffering from a pinched nerve, herniated disc, or disc degeneration, all you want is for the pain to stop. Pain medication and physical therapy are often successful in providing relief, but, in some cases, further treatment is needed. That often means anterior cervical discectomy with fusion or ACDF surgery.
Here are six things you need to know about the ACDF surgery.
1. ACDF Surgery is a two-part process.
First comes the removal of the bad disc. “Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is an operation to remove a degenerative or herniated disc from the neck,” said Medical News Today. “After the surgeon removes the damaged disc, they fuse the bones together.”
2. The procedure is not performed through the back or neck.
Unlike many other surgical procedures, this type of fusion is performed through a small incision in the throat. This makes the disc much more accessible. The surgeon is able to move the neck muscles, esophagus, and trachea aside, and maneuver in such a way that protects the spinal cord, nerves, and neck muscles.
3. The need for ACDF Surgery is generally rare.
When it comes to herniated discs, more conservative treatments work most of the time. According to Healthline, only about 10% of these patients are still dealing with enough back pain after six weeks of other treatments to move forward with surgery.
4. The success rate is exceptionally high.
“Between 93 to 100 percent of people who’ve had ACDF surgery for arm pain reported relief from pain, and 73 to 83 percent of people who had ACDF surgery for neck pain reported positive results,” said Healthline.
5. You’ll need to stop smoking beforehand.
If you’ve been wanting to quit smoking anyway, having ACDF surgery could give you the push you need. “In addition to being a well-established risk factor for a variety of medical conditions, smoking has deleterious effects on the bone healing of spinal fusions, according to “The Effect of Smoking on Spinal Fusion,” an article from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. “It has been clearly demonstrated from both a biochemical and clinical perspective that smoking increases the rate of perioperative complications for patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery. The most important recommendation is smoking cessation for four weeks after surgery.”
6. ACDF Surgery recovery depends on how many levels are fused.
With some ACDF surgeries, an overnight hospital stay is not necessary. However, this is dependent on the overall health of the patient and the complexity of the procedure.
When it’s time to put an end to your pain and look into ACDF surgery, visit DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain today. Minimally invasive surgical techniques mean treating chronic back pain is easier than ever, with outpatient treatments, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.