Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a combination of two surgical procedures that are typically performed to treat cervical disc herniation or cervical degenerative disc disease.

Between most of the cervical vertebrae are intervertebral discs. The discs are the cushion of the spine. One or more of the discs can rupture, causing a piece of the disc to pop out and potentially compress a nerve. Although this may happen after trauma, it more often happens for no particular reason. A cervical disc herniation can result in neck pain. When it compresses nerve, it can cause arm numbness, pain or weakness. When it compresses the spinal cord itself, it can cause difficulty with balance or even paralysis.

Cervical degenerative disc disease is the gradual deterioration of disc tissue due to wear and tear that occurs as individuals get older. This disease causes symptoms that are similar to those which occur due to cervical disc herniation, but the hallmark of this problem is neck pain.

Cervical disc herniation and degeneration can be diagnosed with a physician’s examination and imaging studies such as an MRI. Additional tests that can be performed include a myelogram and a nerve test called an EMG.