Relieve Neck Pain, Weakness or Numbness with Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

When you’re suffering from a herniated or degenerative cervical disk in your neck, even the small act of turning your head can be agonizing. Injured discs may also cause shooting pain or numbness in your arms, legs, hands, or feet—but you shouldn’t have to live with any of it.

Each disc in your spine acts as a shock absorber between the spinal vertebrae. They also help support spine mobility and stability. Any chronic pain that limits your range of movement affects your quality of life. Fortunately, Texas Minimally Invasive Spine offers minimally invasive procedures that can help relieve pain from a cervical disc herniation as well as its secondary symptoms: neurological deficits (e.g., difficulty walking, or bowel/bladder incontinence), and/or severe pain that does not respond to medication or improve with several weeks of conservative therapies.

Get relief from unbearable pain with an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

When you have a compromised cervical disc in the part of the spine that’s located in your neck and traditional nonsurgical treatments haven’t resolved your pain, Dr. Shaad Bidiwala may recommend an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedure.

Anterior is a surgical approach in which the procedure is performed from the front of the body, in this case the neck or throat. A discectomy is a medical procedure that involves removing damaged, arthritic or herniated discs.

Most anterior cervical discectomy procedures also require fusion to ensure spinal stability. Once the injured disc is removed, a bone graft is implanted between the vertebrae. This graft will eventually help the two vertabrae grow (fuse) together.

Recover more quickly with our minimally invasive ACDF approach to neck surgery

ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion)

Quick Facts

Possible Symptoms

  • Arm and/or hand pain, numbness, and/or weakness
  • Neck and head pain, especially with movement
  • Difficulty with balance

Typical X-Ray Findings

  • Herniated disk compressing spinal cord and/or nerve roots (MRI, CT myelogram).
  • Spondylolisthesis or slippage of one vertebra on the other.
  • Instability with flexion and extension (X rays)

Average Procedure Time

  • One level: 1.5 hours
  • Two levels:  2.5 hours
  • Three levels: 3.5 hours

Average Recovery Time

  • Home in 1-2 days
  • Off work 2-8 weeks, depending on duties

Postperative Limitations

  • Cervical collar for > 2 levels (8 weeks)
  • No bending, twisting, lifting, or strenuous exercises (8 weeks)
  • No driving while on narcotics

The Procedure

A discectomy is the removal of all or part of a degenerated disk that is causing nerve or spinal cord compression. Though cervical discectomies used to be performed from a posterior approach, that is, from behind, now they are usually performed from an anterior approach. This is because there are few organs in front of the cervical spine, and it can be difficult to remove a disk from a posterior approach with the spinal cord in the way.

Since almost all of the disk is removed in an anterior cervical discectomy, bone graft within a cage to replace the disk and to encourage bony growth between the vertebrae above and below is commonly placed along with a plate to secure the entire structure. Most spinal surgeons agree that this procedure, called an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, provides for a faster return to work and a better long term outcome over an anterior cervical discectomy alone.

The procedure involves making a small incision on the front of the neck, and removing most of the cervical disk from the front. After the spinal cord and nerve roots are well decompressed, an interbody cage filled with bone is placed to preserve the disk height and promote fusion. A plate and screws are then placed to stabilize the construct.

At Texas Minimally Invasive Spine, we have a passion for precision and exceptional care, and part of that means we offer only the most advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques. You’ll experience smaller incisions, less blood loss, lower risk for muscle and soft-tissue damage and infection, reduced postoperative pain and faster recovery times. Call 214-823-2052 or use our easy online form to learn how Dr. Bidiwala can help relieve your back, neck or leg pain.