In the neck, an anterior approach may be required. Anterior approaches can either be in the form of an Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) or a Cervical arthroplasty (ADR: Artificial Disc Replacement). This involves removing the entire disc to take the pressure off the spinal cord and nerve roots. The procedure for both an arthroplasty and a fusion are similar up to this point.
A fusion, (ACDF, an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion), is the current gold standard for treatment of the degenerated or herniated disc. With this procedure after the discectomy is performed, a spacer is placed inside the disc space, to restore the former height and curvature the collapsed disc was intended to assume, and a metal plate may be used for stabilization. The bone between the vertebral bodies will then grow through the center of the spacer and weld (or fuse) the vertebral bodies together. Once fused this completely eliminates painful motion from the involved area through a cervical fusion. Once the fusion mass is consolidated Dr. Pazmino will allow a progression of activities ranging from driving, work and sports. Final fusion occurs at 12-16 months. Patients are not required to wear a soft collar, unless needed for comfort while driving.