Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, also known as spinal fusion surgery, is a surgery that’s performed by spine surgeons and neurosurgeons in order to help reduce neck and back pain that occurs from disc issues.
This is where a slipped or herniated disc that’s hurting someone in the back or neck is then removed and from there metal screws and plates are put in to keep the vertebrae together. They then fuse with the bone there, and then the cervical vertebrae are stabilized.
The surgery is considered anterior so it’s done via the front rather than the back by the surgeon.
This has a very high success rate, with it being around 93-100% in terms of success, and most people typically feel a lot better and have a lot less pain after that.
However, despite it having such a high success rate, it’s rarely used because people want to try to use physical therapy or medications beforehand. The reason being it’s invasive and it has a very high recovery time.
What is this Used For?
Typically, spinal fusion surgery is used for the following:
- Taking out worn or hurt discs in the spine.
- Treating slipped or herniated discs
- Removing the bone spurs that are crating pinched nerves, which can make the arms and legs feel weak
This also may be ordered after some accidents, which includes the following:
- Car accidents
- Slip and falls
- Motorcycle accidents
There are also some factors that go into getting this type of surgery. If you have any of the following conditions, then you’ll want to consider it:
- Fractures in the bone
- Spine deformities
- Herniated discs
Who are Good Candidates
Usually, these are people who have to live with chronic numbness, pain, and of course being unable to move.
This is an option as well if the disc is herniated and degenerated because there is weakness in the hand or arm, and typically, if there is no resolution via medication and the like, they typically do this.
How does it Work?
This is usually done by first looking at the vertebrae, which protect your spinal cord. They have cushion with them called a disc, and there is a flexible wall on the outside, with a jellylike fluid that acts as shock absorbers when there is exercising, falls, and other activities, and of course, the discs are there to help prevent the bones from grinding up against each another.
When they become hurt though, they protrude outside of the fluid, and this can make the pain really bad.
Spinal fusion involves joining two or more of the vertebrae to limit this motion, so that it can reduce the pain and also give structure to the parts that are damaged. They also use extra bone tissue to graft some new bones.
This can also be used to treat deformities and fractures, but most of the time it’s for back pain.
It also does use a discectomy which removes the discs that are there too.
Typically, usually, some people are fine, but they also may need to get other surgeries too. The best thing to do though is to talk to a professional to figure out if this is for you.
Once it’s done, you will have to rest, but it does heal your back so you’re not in as much pain as you were before, and you may be able to do activities that you once before were able to do as well which is good.