Gary Alegre, MD
Orthopedic Spine Surgeon located in Stockton, CA
Over the years, the discs that support and cushion your neck start to wear down, causing pain and symptoms like tingling that travels down your arm. When you need relief from the pain, it may be time to consider an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Fellowship-trained spine surgeon Gary Alegre, MD, in Stockton, California, has years of experience in safely and successfully performing neck surgeries that help you get back to life without ongoing neck pain. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking feature today.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion Q & A
What is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)?
Discectomy and fusion refer to a surgical procedure to remove a damaged disc and fuse the two adjoining vertebrae together. When you have an ACDF, the vertebrae are located in your neck (cervical spine), and your surgery is done in the front or anterior part of your spine.
Vertebral discs cushion the bones, absorb shock, and stabilize spinal movement. As a result, removing a disc causes instability. Dr. Alegre restores spinal strength and stability with a fusion.
What neck conditions may need an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion?
You may need an ACDF to ease the pain and nerve symptoms caused by a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease:
Your vertebral discs consist of a strong outer layer that encloses an inner, gel-like substance. Wear and tear over the years creates weak spots in the outer cover. As a result, the inner part can bulge out. If the cover tears, the gel-like substance leaks out.
Herniated discs push against the spinal nerves, causing pain and symptoms such as tingling and pain that travel down your arms.
Degenerative disc disease
As you get older, the discs dry out and flatten. Much like a herniated disc, this leads to pinched nerves and spinal instability.
What happens during an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion?
Dr. Alegre makes an incision in the front of your throat and gently moves the muscles, trachea, and esophagus out of the way. Once he has access to your cervical spine, he removes the damaged disc and then does the fusion.
To fuse two vertebrae together, Dr. Alegre places a bone graft into the space originally occupied by the disc. The bone graft consists of living bone or a biocompatible cage containing substances that activate bone growth.
Dr. Alegre may also reinforce the vertebrae with a metal plate to keep the bones stable while they fuse. As the graft promotes bone growth, the two vertebrae merge to form one strong bone.
Can I have minimally invasive surgery?
With Dr. Alegre’s advanced training and skills, he may perform your ACDF using minimally invasive surgery. In some cases, however, you may need conventional open surgery.
Minimally invasive procedures use smaller incisions. As a result, your body experiences less trauma and you have less bleeding, less post-surgery pain, and a faster recovery.
If you need to find relief for neck pain, call Gary Alegre, MD, or schedule an appointment online.