Three-level ACDF surgery indicates spinal surgeons remove three cervical discs during spinal fusion surgery, according to Mayfield Clinic for Brain & Spine. ACDF stands for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. This procedure removes herniated or degenerative discs in the neck area of the spine.
A three-level ACDF usually lasts two to three hours, notes spine surgeon Steven Agabegi, M.D. The surgeon removes discs between vertebrae, grafts the bones together, and then inserts a metal plate to limit movement among those bones. The purpose of the surgery is to relieve any pressure on nerves caused by the deterioration of the sponge-like discs. When discs degenerate, bones may rub against nerve endings, causing pain in the arms and neck.