Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

This surgery is performed from the front of the neck and is usually used to treat nerve pain due to disc protrusion or bone spurs. Sometimes it is used to treat spinal cord compression. There is a short incision obliquely on one side of the neck, usually the left, and time in hospital is a few days.

In the operating theatre positioning of the head and neck is carefully attended to. Once the front of cervical spine is revealed, x-ray is used to confirm the correct spinal level. The intervertebral disc is removed back to the nerve and spinal cord. An operating microscope is used to give a clear view of the involved nerve and gently remove the disc fragment or bone spurs from around it. The space between the vertebrae is then filled with bone from the hip or a hollow cage. Often a plate is used to secure the graft or cage.

A collar is not required and walking starts the next day. There will be some discomfort swallowing and this improves with time. Only a couple of days is needed in hospital.