Is ACDF a Major Surgery?


Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure used to treat neck problems such as herniated discs or degenerative disc disease. Despite its complexity, ACDF is considered a common and highly successful surgery, with a reported success rate of 73-83%, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). This procedure involves removing a damaged disc in the neck and fusing the adjacent vertebrae to stabilize the spine.

While ACDF is generally safe, it’s essential to understand the procedure and recovery process to make an informed decision. This blog delves into the details of ACDF surgery, its outcomes, and what to expect during the recovery phase.

What is ACDF Surgery?

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure involving the removal of a damaged cervical spinal disc and a bone fusion to replace the damaged bone. Damage to these bones may occur due to symptomatic cervical herniated discs or cervical degenerative disc diseases. Sometimes, an ACDF procedure eliminates bone spurs and alleviates symptoms from degenerative conditions.

Dr. Puneet Girdhar is a renowned robotic and minimally invasive spine surgeon in India. He is known for his expertise in performing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgeries. With years of experience and a commitment to patient care, Dr. Puneet has helped numerous patients find relief from neck pain and regain their quality of life. His meticulous approach and compassionate care make him a trusted choice for those seeking ACDF surgery in India.

Why is ACDF Surgery Performed?

There are many reasons your doctor may recommend ACDF surgery. Removal of the cervical disc can treat the following issues:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated discs

Your doctor will only recommend ACDF surgery if other less intensive options do not help. The doctor may recommend alternative treatment options like physical therapy, medications, and injections, depending on the condition.

Even if these treatment options are ineffective, the doctor may not recommend Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion.

How to Prepare for ACDF Surgery?

You will need to consult with your physician before undergoing ACDF surgery. Make sure to disclose any allergies you have or prescriptions you’re taking. Tell your doctor of any conditions involving your kidneys, lungs, or heart. Make sure they understand your pre-existing conditions before surgery. You must self-advocate as much as possible and disclose all relevant information to your doctor. If you are a smoker, you will need to stop at least two weeks before surgery.

What Happens During an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Procedure?

After being anesthetized for the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision at the front of the neck to access the damaged disc. Then, the surgeon slowly removes the disc by cutting through it and detaching it from the spine. Following the disc removal, the first part of the procedure is complete.

Next, the physician will perform a cervical fusion, which will keep the bones in alignment. A bone graft replaces the area where the disc used to be, and a metal plate keeps the bone graft in place. Over time, the bone graft will fuse to the vertebrae, and the solidified bone will stabilize the spine.

What is the Process of Recovery after ACDF Surgery?

During your initial ACDF recovery, you must be observed in a hospital setting. The hospital staff will monitor the heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Once you can move normally, your doctor will clear you for release. Your doctor will prescribe you medication to help you recover at home. Make sure you attend all follow-up appointments your physician schedules.

“ACDF is indeed a major surgery, as it involves delicate work on the cervical spine. However, it’s important to note that it’s also a highly successful procedure with a good track record of relieving neck pain and improving quality of life. With advancements in surgical techniques and post-operative care, many patients recover well and resume their daily activities. Understanding the procedure and its potential benefits is key to making an informed decision,” says Dr Puneet.

“Dr. Puneet Girdhar is a compassionate surgeon who performed my ACDF surgery precisely. I am grateful for his expertise and care, as I have experienced significant relief from my neck pain. I highly recommend Dr. Puneet to anyone needing spinal surgery.” – Rahul Jain.

“I underwent ACDF surgery under the care of Dr. Puneet Girdhar, and I am delighted with the results. His professionalism and dedication to his patients are commendable. Thanks to Dr. Puneet, I can now enjoy a pain-free life. I cannot thank him enough for his exceptional care.” – Priya Roy.

What is the Cost of an ACDF Surgery in India?

ACDF surgery costs in India range from INR 2,50,000 to INR 5,00,000, or around USD 3,500 to USD 7,000. It is crucial to remember that these are estimates and may differ based on the hospital, surgeon, and individual circumstances affecting the patient’s health. As a result, it’s best to contact a healthcare professional or hospital to get a more precise cost estimate, depending on your situation.


ACDF is a major surgery with a high success rate and significant potential to alleviate neck pain and improve quality of life. While the decision to undergo ACDF should be carefully considered, knowing that the procedure is well-established and effective can provide reassurance. With advancements in surgical techniques and post-operative care, many patients experience positive outcomes and a return to normal activities. If you’re considering ACDF, discussing your options with a healthcare professional is crucial for making an informed decision tailored to your needs.


1. Can ACDF surgery be performed on any part of the spine?

No, ACDF surgery is specifically performed on the cervical spine (neck region).

2. Will I be able to drive after ACDF surgery?

It is generally advised to avoid driving for at least 1-2 weeks after ACDF surgery or until cleared by your surgeon.

3. Is it normal to experience hoarseness or difficulty swallowing after ACDF surgery?

Yes, these symptoms are common after ACDF surgery but typically resolve within a few weeks.

4. When can I resume normal activities, such as lifting heavy objects after ACDF surgery?

You should avoid lifting heavy objects or strenuous activities for 6-8 weeks after ACDF surgery or as your surgeon advises.

5. Can ACDF surgery be repeated if the initial procedure does not provide relief?

A revision ACDF surgery may sometimes be considered if the initial procedure does not provide the desired relief. Still, your surgeon would make this decision based on your specific situation.

Explore more blogs: What Are the Benefits of Cervical Disc Replacement Over Fusion?

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