Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a procedure used to treat neck problems such as cervical radiculopathy, disc herniations, fractures, and spinal instability. In this procedure, the surgeon enters the neck from the front (the anterior region) and removes a spinal disc (discectomy). The vertebrae above and below the disc are then held in place with bone graft and sometimes metal hardware. The goal is to help the bones to grow together into one solid bone. This is known as fusion. The medical term for fusion is arthrodesis.
Operating on the back of the neck is more commonly used for neck fractures. That procedure is called posterior cervical fusion.
What parts of the neck are involved?
Surgeons perform this surgery through the front part of the neck. Key structures include the ligaments and bones, intervertebral discs, the spinal cord and spinal nerves, and the neural foramina.