Cervical Fusion Surgery (ACDF) with Dr. Kimball

The traditional approach to fixing neck or arm pain that is not responding to medications or to physical therapy is to consider a procedure that I have actually moved away from and that is cervical (or neck) fusion surgery. Another term for this is ACDF or anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in the spine.

ACDF, although well-proven and successful for many years, is not without its pitfalls. Patients, especially those younger than 50 that have one fusion surgery, have a very high risk for another surgery later on.

Similarly, in the lumbar spine, when one disk that was moving is fused, it accepts some energy and motion transfer so that the biomechanical stress from that level once the bone has been fused just gets moved to another level. This in turn gets non-physiologic, extra stress, extra motion and then it degenerates faster. The way to avoid this is through disk replacement surgery.

A lot of people do well with fusion, and I still perform this procedure, but it is not my first choice for my patients.

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