How Tiger’s Back Surgery Succeeded
Tiger’s back surgery was all the rage when the legendary golfer reclaimed his throne after more than a year of not playing. The procedure is also noteworthy because it was done after his three failed surgeries in different years.
The Athlete’s Downfall
While it’s a non-contact sport, golf can physically strain the body. Maintaining proper posture while swinging a club requires effort after all. Consider the training involved, as well. Injury-causing accidents happen, too.
Tiger Woods’s road to golfing stardom wasn’t painless. He endured knee, foot, shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries along the way. His most prominent condition, however, was his chronic back problem.
In Barclays 2013, he was seen falling to his knees after a wild shot. He held on to his club for support as he knelt and rose. Even as he stood, he was still visibly in pain.
Later on, it was revealed that he had back spasms. Years before that, he was rumored to have a herniated disc after withdrawing from a tournament in 2010.
He carried on despite his back issue without considering Woods back surgery. In 2014 though, he couldn’t take it anymore and drop out in the middle of the Honda Classic tournament.
By 2014, Woods had already been through eye and knee surgeries. This year, he sought Tiger Woods back surgery for the first time.
He underwent microdiscectomy, in particular. Also known as microdecompression, the minimally invasive surgery involved removing a disc that pressed on a nerve. After the surgery held in April, he returned to the course as early as June.
Despite undergoing surgery, it’s obvious that Woods was still not in his best form. He only joined a few tournaments that year, but he lost in all of them.
Woods was set to join another tournament in February 2015. Unfortunately, he had to deal with another back injury. This prompted him to withdraw again.
He still came back for the 2015 Masters and a few tournaments, though. He played way better than the previous year. Yet, he was still unable to take back and claim championships.
By September 2015, news came out about a surgery treating Tiger Woods lower back pain. It was another microdiscectomy. He decided to skip the 2016 Masters and focus on his recovery. In 2014, he also missed out on the said tournament.
Unlike in 2014, he didn’t rush his recovery after his second surgery. He didn’t play on the four major golfing tournaments in 2016. As a result, his ranking plummeted significantly.
He had another surgery on his back in 2016. A few months later, he played again. His performance was not that impressive, though.
For the third time, he didn’t participate in the Masters for the year 2017. His doctors gave him clearance, but he said that he’s still not feeling tournament-ready.
Woods’s Grand Comeback
In 2017, Woods underwent his fourth back surgery. This time, his spine surgeon advised on anterior lumbar interbody fusion. He agreed to the procedure, knowing that it would take him up to six months to recover.
After his rehabilitation, he went back to professional golfing. His succeeding plays were way better than his performances from 2014 to 2017.
In 2019, Tiger Woods bagged the championships in the Masters. It was his first major win in a decade. It was also his 15th win in the said tournament. From ranking as low as 1,199th in 2017, he went as high as 26th in the world ranking for 2019. No other golfer achieved such feat.
Many experts and fans partly attribute the success to his most recent back surgery. He was obviously in great form after that.
If you’re suffering from lower back pain, you may be wondering if the procedure will also suit you. It still depends on some factors. It’s best to ask a specialist like Dr. Scott Kutz, MD, to know if that’s the right surgery for you.
Definition of Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
Lumbar interbody fusion involves the removal of a herniated disc on the lower back. It doesn’t stop from there; it also requires fusing the discs right above and right below the removed part. Basically, it’s turning the two discs into a single bone. Bone graft or substitute grafting material is used to secure the merged discs.
The procedure usually lasts for two to three hours. As it’s minimally invasive, it’s relatively way quicker than major back surgery. The latter may take half a day, at the very least. The recovery period is also more extensive.
There are two approaches to doing lumbar interbody fusion. It’s either posterior or anterior. The former simply means that the surgery will be done while the patient is lying on his back. The surgeon operates through the lower abdomen area.
In contrast, AILF—the one that Woods had—involves the patient lying on his stomach. Then, the surgeon cuts directly through the lower back. This is more advantageous because the surgery is less likely to affect other internal organs.
Other Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
As you become familiar with Tiger Woods back surgery history, you realize that there are different types of minimally invasive spine surgeries. Tiger Woods back fusion and microdiscectomy are just two of them.
Other types include kyphoplasty, laminectomy, and laminotomy. Disc replacement and ligament resection are options as well. Your surgeon has to diagnose where the actual problem is to suggest which surgery is best for the condition. He takes into consideration your other conditions, too, to know whether the posterior or anterior is more ideal.
If you have other questions about Tiger back surgery, feel free to reach out to Dr. Scott Kutz, MD; Call (972) 244-3491 to inquire or to book an appointment in his clinic, Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas.