Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Procedures | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 5, 2014
An Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion is a minimally invasive spine surgery that requires an incision in the front of the neck. It usually takes time for a patient’s voice to fully recover after this surgery. In this article, we are going to offer some tips for recovering your voice after an Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion surgery.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF)
First thing’s first, let’s talk briefly about the ACDF procedure itself. ACDF stands for Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion. It is a procedure used to correct a herniated or degenerative spinal disc in the neck region. In the procedure, the surgeon removes the disc through an incision in the throat area. Once the disc is removed, the adjacent vertebrae are fused together using a bone graft or spinal hardware.
Because this surgery requires an anterior approach (i.e. through the throat region), there is a risk of injuring the vocal cords. When this happens, the patient may need to take certain steps to recover their voice following surgery.
Voice Recovery after an ACDF
If your voice is sore, hoarse, or you are unable to speak following your ACDF surgery, do not be alarmed. The most likely explanation is that the area surrounding the surgical incision is inflamed. This inflammation can impact your vocal cords and make it difficult to speak. Typically, inflammation will subside within four weeks following surgery. During this recovery period, it is important to rest your voice and allow it to heal.
With all that said, there are circumstances in which you should go see your surgeon. If you are unable to speak at all after 4 months following your surgery, or if you have severe pain that does not get better. Your surgeon will be able to identify if there has been significant damage done to the vocal cords, or if it is simply a result of the inflammation.