In the cervical spine, surgery is often performed via an anterior approach to address a multitude of issues, including degenerative disorders, fractures, or tumors. Your physician may determine that an ACDF procedure is a good option for you if you require an interbody fusion, are skeletally mature, and have gone through six weeks of non-surgical treatment. Conversely, your physician may determine that an ACDF procedure is not a good option for you if you are not a good candidate for fusion surgery in general due to other medical conditions. These conditions can be signs of inflammation or infection near the operative site, patient sensitivity to implant materials, patients with inadequate bone quality, and other indications.
Are there risks involved?
All surgery presents risks and complications that are important to discuss with your physician prior to your surgery. Listening to your physician’s guidance both before and after surgery will help to ensure the best possible outcome from your procedure.
Risks associated with anterior cervical surgery of the spine include: cervical edema (swelling); dysphagia (difficulty swallowing); dysphonia (difficulty talking); hoarseness; vocal cord paralysis; laryngeal palsy; sore throat; recurring aspirations; nerve deficits or damage; tracheal, esophageal, and pharyngeal perforation; airway obstruction; deficit or damage to the spinal cord, nerve roots, or nerves possibly resulting in paralysis; dural tears or leaking; cerebrospinal fistula; discitis, arachnoiditis, and/or other types of inflammation; loss of disc height; loss of proper curvature, correction, height, or reduction of the spine; vertebral slipping; scarring, herniation, or degeneration of adjacent discs; surrounding soft tissue damage; spinal stenosis; myelopathic, or radicular symptoms; spondylolysis; otitis media; fistula; vascular damage and/or rupture; and headache. Please contact your physician to discuss all potential risks.