Anterior Cervical Discectomy

What Is Anterior Cervical Discectomy (ACD)?

An anterior cervical discectomy (ACD) is the removal of a damaged disc (discectomy) in the neck (cervical) by accessing the spine via the front (anterior) of the neck. The ACD procedure is usually done in coordination with a fusion or a disc replacement.

A fusion joins the nearby disc areas together with a bone graft, thereby providing stability and maintaining vertebral height. However, a fusion also limits mobility for that part of the spine. A disc replacement keep mobility by replacing the herniated disc with an artificial disc, such as a Mobi-C artificial spinal disc.

What Conditions Does Anterior Cervical Discectomy (ACD) Treat?

A discectomy removes herniated or diseased discs. Damaged discs can arise from other spine conditions:

Conditions that might be helped by an anterior cervical discectomy may have symptoms such as:

  • Cervical radiculopathy —pain along the nerve path,
  • Disc herniations — bulging or “slipped” discs, and
  • Cervical fractures

Compression of the damaged disc onto a nerve can cause weakness, numbness or pain.

State-of-the-art Anterior Cervical Discectomy (ACD) Treatments at NSPC

At Neurological Surgery, P.C. (NSPC), we use revolutionary techniques to make spinal surgeries safer, decrease the chance of complications and have faster patient recoveries. To shrink blood vessels and reduce blood loss, our spine surgeons use the Aquamantys® System, which uses radiofrequency energy and saline to close up blood vessels faster during surgery. The Misonix Ultrasonic device emulsifies (melts) targeted bone, yet preserves soft tissue such as the spinal membrane.

The procedure for an anterior cervical discectomy is usually in concert with a fusion (a bone graft that helps the bones join together) or an artificial disc replacement.

Patients lie on their back and are under anesthesia for the surgery.

  • A one to two-inch incision is made in the front of the neck. The surgeon retracts the neck muscles, trachea, esophagus and arteries to access the damaged disc.
  • Fluoroscopic imaging confirms the correct disc is selected.
  • The damaged disc is removed, alleviating pressure on the nerve. If any bone spurs were detected, they are removed and the opening for spinal nerve roots are widened to provide room for the nerves.
  • For a spinal fusion, a bone graft is inserted into the space between the remaining vertebrae. Hardware such as screws and rods hold the spine stable while the bone grows.
  • If the ACD is accompanied by an artificial disc replacement, the new disc would be inserted now.

Patients typically return home the same day of the treatment.

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