(in lay terms for the patient – not all-inclusive):
a) procedure: surgery through the front of the neck to remove the degenerated disc and bone spurs, and to place a graft where the disc was, and possibly place a metal plate on the front of the spine. Some surgeons take bone from the hip to replace the removed disc.
b) alternatives: nonsurgical management, surgery from the back of the neck, artificial disc (in some cases).
c) complications: swallowing difficulties are common but usually resolve, hoarseness of the voice (<4% chance of it being permanent), injury to: foodpipe (esophagus), windpipe (trachea), arteries to the brain (carotid), spinal cord with paralysis, nerve root with paralysis, possible seizures with MEPs
Graft (e.g. PEEK, cadaver bone, titanium cage…) and anterior cervical plate (optional, especially on single level ACDF)