Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)


Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), also known as anterior cervical decompression, is surgery to remove a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck (cervical spine), to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve root. This procedure can be required at any age. At a younger age the issue is usually a soft disc bulge, or herniated disc. In older patients it can be due to a degenerative disc.


What is a Herniated or Degenerative Disc?

Between each of your vertebrae are discs which act as shock absorbers for the spine. They help your back stay flexible, so you can bend and twist.


A herniated disc is one that extends beyond the area directly between two vertebrae, pushing out into the spinal canal and creating pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. You may get a herniated disc by lifting something or twisting quickly.


A degenerative disc is caused by wear and tear over time. The discs can begin to break down and may not work as well which can cause the space for the spinal cord and nerve roots to become too narrow. The symptoms of this pressure on the cervical spinal canal and nerve roots are pain, weakness, numbness and tingling. Symptoms are often felt in your shoulders, arms and hands as well as in your neck.


The Procedure

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery to treat a herniated or degenerative disc will usually be recommended after lifestyle changes, rest, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and steroid injections have all been tried without success. An alternative surgery, in some cases, is to have a replacement disc to retain some of the motion.  There are advantages to either approach and your consultant will discuss your all options with you.


Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery is performed under a general an aesthetic and is approached through the anterior, meaning the through the front of the neck rather than from the back. This allows direct visualisation of the cervical discs and provides good access. An incision is made on one side of the neck, usually horizontally within a natural skin crease, to reach and remove the disc from between two vertebral bones. Your surgeon may also decompress (clear out) any bone spurs or disc material that may be putting pressure on your nerves.


A fusion is then performed to stabilise and strengthen the area. A plastic or metal implant is inserted in the area from where the disc has been removed. This encouraged the vertebral bones above and below to fuse together over time, while maintaining the decompression and allowing space around the nerve roots and spinal cord. A small plate may be used for additional stability. 


The incision will be closed with stitches (usually absorbable) and pressure dressing will be applied.  Your surgeon may insert a thin tube that acts as a suction drain to help remove fluid. Local anaesthetic may be applied to the area to help with pain relief immediately after surgery.


Post-Operative Recovery

You will usually be able to return home the day after your surgery. Your wound will take around 10 days to heal and the dressing should be left in place during this time.


You will be prescribed painkillers to help manage pain and discomfort in the days following surgery. For the first couple of weeks it is important to rest but taking walks will be beneficial. You may have difficulty swallowing, a sore throat or hoarseness for the first week or so but these symptoms should ease in a few weeks. At around 3 weeks you will be able to take on light activities but lifting must be avoided. You will be able to start physiotherapy at this time, but only if it has been recommended.


Your consultant will want to see you after 6 weeks to check your progress and advise if you are able to return to normal activities.  Everyone is different but, as a guide, after around 6 – 8 weeks you may be able to drive and return to work. You may need longer if you have a manual job. Bending, heavy lifting and sport should be avoided for up to 6 months.


Need Help?

At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation.  Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.


You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Ashford Hospital

Why One Ashford Hospital

  • Access to leading Consultants within 48 hours*
  • 0% and low interest finance options**
  • Competitive fixed-price packages
  • Modern purpose-built hospital
  • Fast access to diagnostics including CT, MRI, X-Ray and Ultrasound
  • Private, spacious, ensuite rooms
  • Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
  • Little waiting time for surgery
  • Calm, dignified experience

*Dependent on Consultant availability
**Terms and conditions apply

Contact us and find out more

If you are based in and around Kent, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury or Folkestone and would like to visit the One Ashford Hospital please click here

Orthopaedics Pricing Guide at One Ashford Hospital

This is a list of guide prices for some of common Orthopaedics treatments and procedures.


Treatment Guide /Package Price Monthly from
Knee Replacement* £10,000 £212.28
ACL Reconstruction £5,375 £120.67
Knee Arthroscopy* £3,250 £72.62
Hip Replacement* £9,500 £201.11
Rotator Cuff Repair £5,965 £134.07
Shoulder Arthroscopy £4,700 £105.02
Shoulder Replacement £10,500 £220.52
Carpal Tunnel Release* £1,075 £24.58
Excision of Ganglion* £1,950 £43.57
Dupuytren's Contracture* £2,500 £55.86
Bunion Surgery £4,170 £93.85
Ankle Arthroscopy £5,530 £124.02

*Fixed-price package

If treatment for your condition is not listed above, contact the hospital on 01233 423 303 where a member of our Reservations team can provide you with a quote. 

Contact the Hospital About Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)