What Is Involved in an Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion With Plating?


Quick Answer

An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating is a neck surgery that involves removal of an intervertebral disc that is herniated or compressing the spinal cord and nerve root. In its place, surgeons place a bone graft along with a small titanium plate to provide stability while the bone fuses. Spine surgeons perform this operation on patients with a herniated disc in the neck that is causing pain or other symptoms, according to the University of Southern California.

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Full Answer

To perform this operation, the surgeon creates an incision in the front, or anterior, of the neck to see the cervical vertebrae, explains USC. Using small biting, grasping or dental-type instruments, the surgeon removes the herniated disc and carefully checks the area to ensure that no compressive spurs or disc fragments remain. He measures the disc space, then places an appropriately sized bone graft between the vertebrae, providing room for the bones to return to the correct position. To add stability and improve bone healing, he screws the titanium plate into the vertebrae. Throughout the operation, the surgeon uses X-rays to ensure proper location and placement.

The surgery lasts about two to three hours, and most patients go home within a day or two, says USC. Research studies demonstrate that 88 to 97 percent of these surgeries produce good or excellent results.

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