Located in Park Ridge, Illinois, The Spine Center serves residents throughout the Chicagoland area with quality, progressive medical care. If you find yourself experiencing pain or discomfort from a damaged spinal disc, know that anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) can help.
Causes and Symptoms of Cervical Disc Damage
Two in three Americans will suffer from neck pain at some point in life. A number of factors can cause such pain, and many of those go away over time. If you find yourself facing continual pain, you should take some simple steps to see if you can improve your quality of life without surgery.
Caregivers, tobacco users, the overweight, and those whose profession require the lifting of heavy objects often end up experiencing this pain. If you find yourself in any of these situations, a few simple lifestyle changes can help:
- Use proper form when maneuvering heavy items.
- Acquire assistive devices to aid in caring for an ill or bed-bound individual.
- Take up an exercise regime.
- Attempt a smoking cessation program.
However, many people take such steps only to watch as their pain becomes constant or recurring, even spreading down an arm or to other areas. This kind of chronic neck pain can indicate that you have cervical disc disease or a herniated disc.
The neck includes seven small bones (vertebrae). They are separated by discs, which act as space holders. Years of wear and tear can cause the breakdown of the discs, reducing the space between vertebrae. This condition is known as cervical disc disease. Like a herniated disc, it can cause pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
The symptoms of cervical disc damage may include:
- Neck pain
- Stiff neck
- Numbness or tingling
- Pain spreading to the shoulder, arm, and/or hand
When noninvasive treatment is not feasible or simply doesn’t work, medical professionals can restore the neck’s structure surgically. Thanks to our advanced technology and techniques, the procedure has an incredibly high success rate and requires minimal downtime.
How does ACDF work? One of our surgeons create a small incision at the front of the neck. By proceeding with the procedure from this vantage point, a doctor has better access to the damage disc or discs and can more easily remove it or them. ACDF is a truly minimally invasive technique as it requires the cutting of only one muscle while simultaneously granting a surgeon access to virtually the whole cervical spine. The surgeon then removes the damaged discs and prepares the bones above and below the disc for grafting. The grafts are precisely positioned between vertebrae and secured with a metal plate if necessary. As the area heals, the graft material fuses with the bone.
Once an ACDF procedure is complete, pressure is immediately relieved from the spinal cord, decreasing pain and discomfort.
Getting ACDF and How to Improve Its Success
ACDF may be done as an outpatient procedure, meaning that you won’t need admission to a hospital or you may stay in the hospital for one night. Many patients feel relieved when they learn that it also has a 70 to 100 percent success rate. Few people experience complications, and most have a relatively fast recovery rate, returning to full functionality within four to six weeks.
However, patients should still take some simple precautions during their post-operative recovery in order to improve their procedures’ chance of success even further. Every patient will need to rest for a full week. That includes resting regularly, avoiding excessive fatigue, and not lifting any substantial weight. In fact, for the fullness of the recovery time, patients should avoid lifting anything weighing more than eight pounds.
If a procedure goes well, a patient may be able to return to work within four or five days, although consulting with a surgeon beforehand is of paramount importance. In order to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your neck, patients will need to bathe in a shower for two weeks. Regularly attending physical therapy sessions, maintaining good posture, and managing one’s weight will further speed recovery.
How the Doctors at Spine Center Can Help You
Why should you consider The Spine Center for an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion procedure? Our team of highly skilled physicians pride themselves on staying abreast of the latest research, medical methods, and surgical innovations. We have more than five decades of experience treating patients of all ages, and we care about patient education so that you can feel comfortable with our customized treatment options.
If you find yourself experiencing neck pain or other symptoms of cervical disc problems, call The Spine Center at (847) 628-8147 to schedule a consultation.