The spine is one of the most intricate parts of the human body and when problems occur with it, there could be severe and long-lasting consequences. Although there may be many issues that occur with the spine, one that is a problem in many cases is a damaged or herniated disc. This can take place in any part of the spine but when it takes place in the cervical or neck area, it can lead to severe pain, stiffness and a pinched nerve that sends numbness or tingling down the arms and into the hands. Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem.
One of those possible solutions is a surgical procedure, known as an Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Instrumentation & Fusion (ACDF). This procedure will help to relieve the symptoms by removing the disc that is placing pressure on the nerve root or on the spinal cord directly. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, so you are not going to feel any of the process as it is taking place. There will be a doctor and a team of medical professionals on hand to handle this procedure and to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
The procedure takes place from the anterior area, when is the front of the body. It is also possible to perform a similar procedure from the posterior (back) but the doctor will make the determination as to which is going to work best in your case. Once the incision is made, the doctor will access the disc and remove it. This will stop the pressure that has been causing your problems. Rather than replacing the disc with an artificial option, the doctor will then perform the fusion part of this procedure.
Typically, the discs separate the vertebra from each other but when you have a disc removed, it is no longer going to be there to provide the cushion that helps to give you free movement and keeps the vertebra from coming in contact with each other. By fusing the vertebra together, it keeps them from moving independently from each other and all of the issues that could result if they did so.
When you have Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Instrumentation & Fusion (ACDF) completed, you can expect to spend an hour or two in the operating room. In some cases, especially if some type of problem occurs, you can expect to spend as much as 3 hours in the operating room. It depends on a number of factors, including the damage or disease that is affecting the discs.
If you live in Richardson, Hearst or throughout the Dallas area, you can call on the services of Dr. Dickerman when you have a need for this type of procedure. He is a board certified spine and neurological surgeon and is capable of performing this procedure without any problems. Prior to the time you go in for the surgery, he will talk to you about options and what can be done to make it work well for you.