Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

What Is ACDF and Am I a Candidate for It?

What Is ACDF and Am I a Candidate for It?

Neck pain is a common complaint among people of all ages. Maybe you slept with your head at an awkward angle, or maybe hours of computer work have left your neck aching. Or maybe, you’ve been suffering from chronic neck pain for a long time and you’re not sure when it started.

Acute neck pain typically improves within a few days — so if you’ve had ongoing neck pain for more than a week or two, it’s time to see a specialist. Your pain could be due to a chronic neck condition like a herniated cervical disc.

Your neck is made of seven cervical spinal vertebrae, all cushioned with spinal discs. If these bones or discs get damaged, nerve pain and neck stiffness could be the result. There are a lot of conservative treatment options for cervical spine problems, but in some cases, minimally invasive spine surgery is the best solution.

For cervical spine conditions, George Kakoulides, MD, and our team specialize in anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This minimally invasive procedure repairs damage and helps relieve pain, and now’s the time to learn more about how it works.

All about ACDF surgery

ACDF is minimally invasive cervical spine surgery. It’s often used to treat herniated cervical discs, bone spurs, and related nerve pain symptoms.

ACDF is generally safe and effective. In fact, the procedure can relieve pain for up to 83% of people suffering neck pain and up to 100% of people with arm pain caused by compressed cervical nerves.

The procedure gets its name because of the techniques used to reach and treat the damaged portion of your cervical spine.

The procedure starts with a small incision along the front or side of your neck (anterior). Then, the damaged disc is identified and removed (discectomy). Once the damaged portions of the cervical disc are gone, metal plates are placed between your vertebrae to provide stability and help them heal together (fusion).

Dr. Kakoulides performs ACDF surgery using general anesthesia to keep you comfortable. The procedure may take between one to four hours, depending on the complexity of your condition.

Once the surgery is complete, many people can go home the same day. However, some people may need to stay in the hospital for a night or two following ACDF. Recovery time can vary, but you can expect to start feeling much better in about three to four weeks.

When to consider ACDF surgery

ACDF is a customizable procedure. Dr. Kakoulides uses it to treat a range of common cervical spine conditions, but as a conservative surgeon, he often recommends nonsurgical treatment options first.

If you have chronic neck pain, we start by diagnosing your condition with a physical examination, X-rays, and other medical imaging tests as needed. If we identify a herniated cervical disc, bone spurs, or another type of cervical spine deterioration, we review potential treatment options with you.

Many people find that conservative care, like physical therapy and pain medication, is enough to adequately relieve their symptoms. But if you’ve tried conservative options — or you’re experiencing severe nerve symptoms in your arms — ACDF could be a good option for you.

Dr. Kakoulides develops a comprehensive treatment plan for you, whether or not ACDF surgery is recommended. Our team is committed to helping you find effective relief from your neck pain, so you can live better.

To learn more about ACDF and treatment options for chronic neck pain, schedule a consultation with us. Call 631-358-2589 or book online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Effective Treatments for a Herniated Cervical Disc

Are you bothered by neck pain and stiffness? Have you noticed tingling or weakness in your arms? It could be a herniated cervical disc — and you don’t have to live with the discomfort. Learn about the top treatments for herniated cervical discs.

Are Spine Fracture Symptoms Obvious?

Back pain is common. But with so many possible causes, finding out what’s wrong isn’t always easy. Sudden, intense back pain could indicate spine fracture — particularly if you’re an older adult. Learn the signs so you can find the proper treatment.

Indications That a Discectomy May Be Recommended

Discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure to treat damaged spinal discs. It’s a common surgery for severely herniated discs, but when is the right time to consider it? Learn more about herniated discs and when discectomy could be right for you.

Am I a Candidate for Cervical Disc Replacement?

Disc degeneration is common with injury and age. Pain, numbness, and weakness start in your neck and spread to your arms, but you don’t have to live with the symptoms. Keep reading to find out if you could be a candidate for cervical disc replacement.