Overview and Indications
Anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF) is performed for patients with symptomatic, progressive cervical spinal stenosis and myelopathy. It is performed to remove the large, arthritic bone spurs that are compressing the spinal cord and spinal nerves. However, in order to do so generally involves removing nearly the entire vertebral body and disc, which must be replaced with a piece of bone graft and fused together to maintain stability.
Most patients are able to go home four to five days after surgery. Patients will typically stay longer, approximately six to 10 days, if a posterior spinal surgery is also performed. Before patients go home, physical therapists and occupational therapists work with patients and instruct them on proper techniques of getting in and out of bed and walking independently. Patients are instructed to avoid bending and twisting of the neck in the acute postoperative period (first four to six weeks). Patients can gradually begin to bend and twist their neck after six to eight weeks as the pain subsides and the neck and back muscles get stronger. Patients are also instructed to avoid heavy lifting in the acute postoperative period (first four to six weeks).
Most patients are placed in a padded, plastic neck brace or cervicothoracic brace (CTO). This reduces the stress on the neck area and helps decrease pain. It can also be used to improve bone healing by maintaining the neck in a rigid position, especially in the first few weeks and months after surgery.