Case Study: Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion (ACDF)

History

A 32-year-old female presented complaining of excruciating neck and left arm pain. She described difficulty carrying her infant son because of numbness and weakness in her left shoulder.

She had tried chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, oral medication (including narcotic pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications like Naproxen and Advil). Her symptoms became progressively worse over 3 months.

Examination

On examination, she was found to have measurable weakness in the left bicep and forearm, diminished reflexes, and signs of spinal cord compression.

Pre-treatment Images

Diagnosis

Her MRI reveals a large C5-6 left sided disc herniation compressing the exiting C6 nerve root and flattening the left-sided spinal cord.

She was diagnosed with severe pinching of the left-sided C6 nerve root (radiculopathy) manifesting in pain, numbness, and weakness.

Selected Treatment

The patient underwent a C5-6 anterior cervical decompression with fusion (ACDF).

This procedure allowed for decompression of the nerve root(s) and spinal cord, and stabilized the patient’s neck.

Post-operative radiographs

Outcome

After an overnight stay in the hospital for observation, the patient returned to work in two weeks and went back to carrying her son.

 
 
 
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