Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion
Anterior cervical fusion is an operation performed on the upper spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots, or on the spinal cord. The term is derived from the words anterior (front), cervical (neck), and fusion (joining the vertebrae with a bone graft).
When an intervertebral disc ruptures in the cervical spine, it puts pressure on one or more nerve roots or on the spinal cord, causing pain and other symptoms in the neck, arms, and even legs. In this operation, Dr. Arias reaches the cervical spine through a small incision in the front of the neck. After the muscles of the spine are spread, the intervertebral disc is removed and a graft is placed between the two vertebral bodies. Over time, this graft will create a fusion between the vertebrae it lies between.
Usually, a small cervical plate is placed over the top of the graft in order to stabilize the spine. This hardware is used to improve the stability of the spine and to also decrease the chance that the graft might be dislodged or moved slightly from the position that it was placed in by Dr. Arias.
Successful recovery from anterior cervical fusion requires that you approach the operation and recovery period with confidence based on a thorough understanding of the process. Dr. Arias has the training and expertise to correct physical defects by performing the operation; he and the rest of the health care team will support your recovery. Your body is able to heal the involved muscle, nerve, and bone tissues. Full recovery, however, will also depend on you having a strong, positive attitude, setting goals for improvement, and working steadily to accomplish each goal.