Anterior Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion (ACCF)
What’s an Anterior Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion?
Anterior Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion, or ACCF, refers to a surgical procedure in which the operating surgeon completely removes a spinal vertebra and associated disc before inserting a bone graft and fusing the surrounding vertebra. Physicians use ACCFs to treat conditions such as cervical spondylotic myelopathy (spinal cord compression due to degenerative changes in the cervical spine), cervical disc herniation, tumors, fractures, and other cervical spine disorders that cause neurological deficits or severe pain. As a relatively invasive procedure, physicians tend to suggest ACCFs as a last resort after exhausting all other conservative treatment options.
How Do Neurosurgeons Perform ACCF Procedures?
Let’s explore how our skilled neurosurgeons perform the ACCF procedure.
Step 1: Preoperative Planning Our expert neurosurgeons comprehensively evaluate the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and diagnostic imaging before surgery. This thorough analysis enables them to identify the precise location and extent of spinal cord compression, ensuring a tailored treatment plan.
Step 2: Anesthesia and Incision The ACCF procedure begins with the patient placed under general anesthesia, ensuring a pain-free experience. The neurosurgeon then makes a small incision in the front of the neck, exposing the affected cervical vertebrae.
Step 3: Corpectomy In the next stage, the neurosurgeon carefully removes the damaged vertebral body, relieving pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Specialized tools, such as high-speed drills or ultrasonic bone scalpels, ensure precision while minimizing trauma to surrounding tissues.
Step 4: Bone Graft and Fusion With the damaged vertebrae removed, the surgeon inserts a bone graft into the resulting space. This graft, typically sourced from the patient’s own body or a donor, acts as a scaffold to promote new bone growth and facilitate fusion of adjacent vertebrae.
Step 5: Fixation To stabilize the spine during the healing process, the neurosurgeon may use spinal instrumentation like metal plates, screws, or cages. These devices hold the vertebrae in proper alignment, allowing the bone graft to fuse and restore spinal stability.
Step 6: Closure and Recovery Once the bone graft and fixation devices are in place, the incision is carefully closed, and the patient is moved to a recovery area. Our attentive medical team closely monitors the patient’s progress and provides post-operative care instructions to optimize healing and minimize discomfort.
Conclusion: At Longhorn Brain and Spine, our skilled neurosurgeons perform the ACCF procedure with precision and care, offering relief from debilitating symptoms and improving overall quality of life. If you or a loved one is experiencing cervical spine issues, consult our experienced neurosurgeons to explore the possibility of an ACCF procedure and take a step towards a pain-free future.
How long does a Spinal Fusion procedure typically take?
The spinal fusion surgery can take as little as 2 hours and as long as 6 or 7 hours or even more. The duration of the operation depends upon the number of vertebrae fused together and the condition of the vertebrae. Complications during the operation can make the condition worse and take more time, eventually. It’s equally vital for the surgical team to take the necessary time to ensure precision and accuracy during the procedure. The surgical team will prioritize the safety and successful outcome of the surgery, focusing on achieving the best results for the patient, regardless of the specific duration.
Benefits and Considerations:
ACCF offers decompression, stabilization, and alignment restoration benefits. However, surgical risks include infection, nerve injury, and graft-related complications.
What’s expected during the recovery period after Spinal Fusion?
Recovery from a spinal fusion surgery depends upon the type of procedure performed. Usually, patients require about 3.7 days of hospital stay after the surgery. Some patients can return home on the same day after surgery if they undergo a simple cervical spinal fusion at the hospital. Minimally invasive surgeries help to reduce the time spent at the hospital. Recovery of the patient usually involves avoiding certain activities and rehabilitation training by Fort Worth Neurosurgeons. Most people can walk the day after surgery and can sit at 1–6 weeks following surgery.