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When a bulging or herniated cervical spinal disc is causing pain and radiculopathy that are responsive to interventional treatments, surgery may be recommended. At DOCS Health, we want to avoid surgery whenever possible, but when it is the best solution, we have several experienced neurosurgeon-spine surgeons on our medical team to perform cervical spine procedures. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery can offer relief for our patients experiencing pain from a herniated cervical disc.

ACDF surgery relieves cervical herniated disc pain by removing the offending disc. The procedure is performed from the front or anterior of the neck or cervical spine. A small incision is made to access the herniated, diseased or damaged disc that is pressing on nerves or the spinal cord. The disc is removed and any bone spurs or other debris in the space is cleared to relieve irritation on the nerves. This portion of the surgery is the anterior cervical discectomy, which removes the damaged disc. The second portion of the procedure is the fusion of the vertebrae above and below the disc that was removed.

Vertebrae Fusion

Once the damaged cervical disc is removed, the surrounding vertebrae need a new support system. Fusion surgery is used to graft these vertebrae together while keeping the needed space between the bones. To accomplish this, there are a few different grafting options. An allograft can be used, which is a grafting material from outside the body used to create a scaffolding between the vertebrae until bone can grow over the allograft. Allograft materials can include a titanium cage, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) or bone from a cadaver. An autograft can also be used, which is bone harvested from the patient.

After the procedure, bone grows over the allograft or autograft to connect the two vertebrae. This creates a healthy portion of bone to support the vertebrae and cervical spine. The bone graft usually is complete in about three months after the procedure.

If you have suffered with pain from a cervical herniated or damaged disc, an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedure may be right for you. To learn more about your treatment options, contact us at DOCS Health in Beverly Hills, CA.