I'm scheduled for surgery to fuse my neck at the C67 level. The surgeon is planning an operation called an ACDF. I don't worry about the surgeon's skills as much as I worry about my body cooperating. How often do people my age (67 years old) end up in a nursing home after an operation like this?
discectomy-and-fusion" class="alinks-link" title="Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion">ACDF is one of the most common surgical spine procedures in the U.S. In this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the anterior (front) of the neck, performs a discectomy (removes the disc) and fuses the two vertebrae together. A fusion simply means that two bones grow together.
Usually, when two vertebrae are fused together, a small piece of bone called a bone graft is inserted between the two vertebrae where the disc has been removed. This bone graft serves to both separate the vertebrae and to stimulate the two bones to grow together - or fuse. The fusion procedure usually involves the use of hardware, such as screws, plates, or cages to keep the bones from moving.
In a recent study, national trends in anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) were reported. Using data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the National Hospital Discharge Survey, the following trends were observed:
Results remain good-to-excellent with fewer complications than ever before for this procedure. Not only that, but it looks like better medications has gained improvements in pain control. Postoperative physical therapy has speeded up recovery and reduced the length of hospital stay.
Satyajit Marawar, MD, et al. National Trends in Anterior Cervical Fusion Procedures. In Spine. July 1, 2010. Vol. 35. No. 15. Pp. 1454-1459.