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Your back is made up of 24 hollow bones (vertebrae) held together by fibrous plates called discs. Your discs can become worn or be injured causing the soft centre of the disc to push out of its normal space. This is called a herniated disc. In most cases fusion surgery is also performed to stabilise your cervical spine.

What happens during ACDF?

ACDF is performed under general anaesthetic. An anterior (from the front) approach allows your surgeon easier access to your cervical spine. An incision (cut) will be made in the side of your neck. They may confirm the location of the diseased disc using x-ray. Part of, or the entire disc, will be removed. Your surgeon may also decompress (clear out) any bone spurs or disc material that may be putting pressure on your nerves.

When the disc is removed a space remains. A bone graft to fill and stabilise this area is performed. This encourages the growth of bone (fusion) between two vertebrae while allowing space for nerve roots in your spinal cord. Sometimes a surgical plate and screws are used to reinforce the bone graft. Your surgical wound will be closed with stitches or staples.

Immediately after your surgery you will be taken to a recovery area where we will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. We will give you medication to control pain but please tell us if you are in any discomfort. Once you are stable, you will be moved to your own room where we will be able to help you to begin to move around.

Going home after ACDF

Patients that have 1-2 levels of their cervical spine decompressed and fused are allowed to go home the same day as their procedure. If you are having any difficulty breathing or any other instability you may need to stay overnight with us.

Be sure and arrange for someone to take you home as you will not be able to drive until released to do so by your surgeon.

Continue to take any pain relief medication as directed and follow any restrictions recommended by your surgeon including lifting and bending. You may have difficulty swallowing, a sore throat or hoarseness. These symptoms should ease in 1-4 weeks.

Recovery from ACDF can take 6 weeks or longer. Full fusion may take up to 18 months post surgery. Discuss any return to work with your surgeon.

As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

Specific complications of ACDF may include:

  • Fusion failure
  • Nerve damage
  • Continued swallowing or speech problems
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

67 Lansdowne Road
Bournemouth
BH1 1RW

01202 291866

Shenfield Road
Brentwood
CM15 8EH

01277 695695

Warren Road
Brighton
BN2 6DX

01273 624488

3 Clifton Hill
Clifton
Bristol
BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870

4 Trumpington Road
Cambridge
CB2 8AF

01223 303336

Cardiff Bay Hospital
Dunleavey Drive
Cardiff
CF11 0SN

02920 836700

Hatherley Lane
Cheltenham
GL51 6SY

01242 246552

Wrexham Road
Chester
CH4 7QP

01244 680 444

78 Broyle Road
Chichester
PO19 6WB

01243 530600

Rykneld Road
Derby
DE23 4SN

01332 540100

Wonford Road
Exeter
EX2 4UG

01392 262110

25 Beaconsfield Road
Glasgow
G12 0PJ

01413349441

Stirling Road
Guildford
GU2 7RF

01483 555805

Burrell Road
Haywards Heath
RH16 1UD

01444 456999

Venns Lane
Hereford
HR1 1DF

01432 355 131

Foxhall Road
Ipswich
IP4 5SW

01473 279100

2 Leighton Street
Leeds
LS1 3EB

01133 882 067

Scraptoft Lane
Leicester
LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401

Clayton Road
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131

Clayton Road
Newcastle-under-Lyme
ST5 4DB

01782 625431

Beech Road
Headington
Oxford
OX3 7RP

01865 307777

Derriford Road
Plymouth
PL6 8BG

01752 775861

Staplegrove Elm
Taunton
TA2 6AN

01823 286991

Junction Road
Norton
Stockton on Tees
TS20 1PX

01642 367439

Kingswood Road
Tunbridge Wells
TN2 4UL

01892 531111

The Chase
Old Milverton Lane
Leamington Spa
CV32 6RW

01926 436351

Winchester Road
Chandlers Ford
Eastleigh
SO53 2DW

02380 266 377

Haxby Road
York
YO31 8TA

01904 715000

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