The nerves in the spine in the neck region (cervical spine) may be compressed by various disease conditions. This may result in pain, numbness and weakness of the arms and legs. For compression at one or two spinal levels (rarely three or more), Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion is a surgery that may be performed.
The spine is approached from the front of the neck, utilising a safe “window” between the vital structures of the neck. This approach has been safely used for more than 60 years. At the spine, the discs and structures compressing the nerves are removed under the operating microscope. After decompression of the nerves, the gaps in the discs and bones are reconstructed with bone graft or synthetic spacers. In addition, a titanium plate and screws are inserted in the adjacent bone to stabilise the spine. The locking of the two bones across a disc/joint is called fusion.
The recovery from Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion is relatively quick. Most patients stay only one or two days in the hospital and no external brace is usually necessary. The success rate of this surgery is usually high (more than 90% of patients experience improvement in their symptoms).