What is the role of anterior cervical diskectomy (ACD) without fusion in the surgical treatment of cervical spondylosis?

Updated: Nov 09, 2018
  • Author: Sandeep S Rana, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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ACD without fusion has been used based on the nonexistent correlation between successful fusion and clinical outcome and the significant incidence of pseudoarthrosis following ACD and fusion (10-20%). The advantage of this procedure is the lack of bone graft–related complications and decreased manipulation and dissection of the cervical tissues. Patients who do not undergo fusion often report a shorter postoperative hospital stay and an earlier return to daily activities.

ACD without fusion almost inevitably is followed by disk-space collapse. This procedure does not accomplish disk-space distraction and does not mechanically open the neural foramina. It does not promote stabilization of the motion segment to promote resorption of osteophytes. As a result, most surgeons choose ACD with fusion for patients with cervical radiculopathy when taking an anterior surgical approach. Instability of the cervical spine is rarely reported following ACD with or without fusion, but the incidence of postoperative neck pain is higher without fusion.

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