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How effective is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)?

Dr. Don Y. Park, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

A 10-year follow-up of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for cervical disc herniation, stenosis and spondylosis, or arthritis of the neck, showed significant improvements with neck and arm pain, disability scores, patient satisfaction and neurological success. The self-reported success was 85 to 95 percent.

However, there is a rate of revision surgery, in terms of nonunion or pseudoarthrosis, where the bones don't heal and the fusion doesn't take. It was approximately 10 percent. With adjacent segment degeneration, meaning the segments above or below degenerated and caused symptoms and required revision surgery, the rate was about 21 percent.

Intermountain Registered Dietitians
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Your spine team will go to great lengths to ensure that anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is the right operation for you. They will also ensure that your surgery is done with the utmost care, to give you the best chance of a successful outcome.

In general:

  • ACDF is most effective in relieving arm pain from a pinched nerve root. When pressure is removed from the painful nerve, the nerve pain almost always disappears immediately. Most patients are very satisfied with their results.
  • ACDF is much less effective in relieving neck pain. About half of patients feel relief from neck pain.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.