Good Candidates for ACDF

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a procedure where nerve root compression caused by a cervical disc herniation is relieved through the front of the neck. In order to stabilize the cervical segment, fusion surgery is usually performed during the same procedure. As with any surgical procedure, there are certain patients who tend to be better candidates than others.

Standard Criteria for ACDF Candidates

A cervical disc herniation is likely to respond well to non-surgical options such as certain prescription or over-the-counter medications. However, when non-surgical options do not work, standard criteria for ACDF candidates include:

  • Persistent pain for at least 6-8 weeks without any sign of improvement
  • Related arm pain that becomes worse than the neck pain from the herniated disc
  • The herniated disc is large enough to place ongoing pressure on nearby nerves
  • Pain returns to the same level after various therapies and non-surgical procedures (NSAIDs, physical therapy, selective nerve root block)

Additional Patient Concerns

ACDF is considered a very reliable procedure when it comes to relieving disc pain that doesn’t respond well to other treatment options. Patients often do not have problems with:

  • Range of Motion

    The location of the neck fusion performed as part of an ACDF doesn’t involve an area involved with significant neck movement, meaning that patients usually retain most or all of their normal range of motion.

  • Noticeable Incision

    The incision for ACDF is typically made parallel to the natural folds of the skin, meaning scaring is minimal and will fade over time.

  • Swallowing

    Difficulty swallowing, according to some estimates, can occur in about 18 percent of patients. Described as a feeling of having something stuck in your throat, this usually goes away over time.

If an ACDF procedure is deemed necessary, patients can typically return home the same day. Are you interested in learning more about ACDF surgery and if you are a good candidate? Visit our website at or call us directly at 310-828-7757 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.