Dr. Dan Albright, orthopedic spine surgeon from Raleigh, North Carolina, explains what is a cervical neck fusion. Using a model, Dr. Albright shows the type of device used and explains how it relieves nerve pain.
Transcription of video:
What is a cervical fusion?
Hello, my name is Dr. Dan Albright. I’m an orthopedic spine surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina. So what is the anterior cervical fusion?
It’s called an ACDF. If one googles ACDF you’ll see Anterior (which means from the front), Cervical (which means neck), Decompression and Fusion – ACDF. It’s done around the world.
Maybe a model, visual aid is the easiest way to understand. This is a fusion device, right here. What we do is we take the disc out. Why do we take the disc out? To get pressure off the nerves. Often times people have nerve pain which is pain going from your neck to your shoulder, shoulder blade, down your arm. It’s awful neck pain oftentimes.
And so we get pressure off by going through the front of the neck which is the easiest way really to get to the spine. And the disc comes out. The disc is the mobile part between the bones. The disc comes out, the pressure comes off the spinal cord, pressure comes off the nerves and then you put a block in there. In this case it’s a metal cage. It can be a piece of bone from your hip bone. I don’t do that much any more that way. This is better. Cage and your bones fuse to the cage. To lock it in, we put two screws above, two screws below and a plate.
In over six weeks these two bones become one bone. There’s no motion any more. This cures arm pain. It can help neck pain – not always cures neck pain, but we can cure the nerve pain, and it’s a great operation. It’s been around a long, long time – decades. I’ve done thousands of these since the 1980s when I started my training. It’s the gold standard for cervical spine surgery.
There are other ways to do neck surgery.sometimes from the back, which I’ll do occasionally. And sometimes we’ll do a disc replacement, but the traditional, tried-and-true gold standard for cervical spine surgery is this device right here.
And no one argues it’s a terrific operation. Pretty easy recovery, cures nerve pain, can help neck pain.
And if you have questions, I’m happy to talk to you any time. My website is www.danalbrightmd.com. For an appointment call 919-863-6808. Thanks.