Implants Used in Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) Surgery

Implants Used in Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) Surgery

An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery (ACDF) is often done to relieve neck pain. The surgeon takes out a disc from the neck through a small incision, then fuses the area with implants to re-stabilize. Discs are substances between the vertebrae that help stabilize your spine. When a disc bulges or leaks, it often causes a troubling amount of pain. Three types of implants may be used during an ACDF, and the one chosen depends on the circumstances.

Anterior Cervical Plates

Anterior cervical plates are placed in front of two or more vertebrae, increasing spine stability after surgery and reducing the time for a patient to wear a cervical collar. The plate itself is made either from titanium metal or a mixture of plastics. Newer plastic plates are made of a composite material, which can dissolve once the fusion finishes.

Interbody Cages

Sometimes, a nerve sends pain signals either because the space between vertebrae is too narrow, or because the spine is misaligned. In these cases, interbody cages can either maintain the original space or preserve spinal alignment. Cages can come in many shapes and sizes, but are usually distributed in a box or cylinder form. They are a fusion of metal, carbon fiber, plastic, and bone. After surgery, the cage should allow fusion between vertebrae to promote spine stability and relieve pain.

Artificial Cervical Discs

Many spine surgeons want to find better alternatives to spinal fusion, as it can be a lengthy procedure. This thinking is why minimally invasive spine surgery is becoming a standard, since it allows patients to get their back pain treated without having to spend a night in the clinic. Artificial cervical discs are still relatively new within the world of spine surgery, but researchers believe that maintaining motion between vertebrae is a better alternative than fusion. With fusion, the spine loses some of its flexibility. Artificial discs are made out of various materials, some being all metal while other being a mixture of metal and plastic.

For an appointment with a New Jersey spine specialist who can recommend the best treatment for your lower back pain, contact us the Spine Institute today.