The risks and potential complications of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery (a surgery to treat damaged or worn disks in your neck) include:
- Blood loss. Blood loss from ACDF is usually very small. But as with any surgery, there is always the potential for major or even life-threatening blood loss.
- Hoarse voice or swallowing difficulties.
- Failure of fusion (fewer than 1 in 50 cases). If the bone fusion fails to heal, you may need to have more surgery.
- Infection (fewer than 1 in 100 cases). Even with antibiotics and careful sterile techniques, there is still a very small risk of developing a wound infection.
- Damage to spinal nerves or the spinal cord (fewer than 1 in 10,000 cases). If nerves or the spinal cord are damaged, you could be left with permanent pain, numbness or weakness in your arms or legs.
- Failure to relieve symptoms. Your surgeon will do everything possible to give you the best results. Even so, surgery may not relieve all your symptoms.