How Tiger Woods Found His Back Surgeon
You may not know this, but Dr. Richard Guyer was Tiger Woods’ Back Surgeon, who successfully performed the minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion surgery.
Since 1994, Tiger Woods has been undergoing surgeries – it was in 2017 when he found Dr. Richard Guyer who performed the ALIF surgery successfully by removing the intervertebral disc and placing the bone graft between the spaces.
According to Tiger Woods, he suffered from a severely painful lower-back disc, which had narrowed and causing pain in the back area and legs. Tiger Woods tried conservative therapy such as medications, rehabilitation, injections, etc. while limiting his sports activities.
However, conservative therapy failed to solve his lower-back problem. This is why the world’s famous golfer opted to have spine surgery.
Dr. Richard Guyer performed a minimally invasive procedure known as ALIF, which involves removing the degenerative disc and restoring the collapsed disk spaces to normal.
The surgery gave Tiger Woods the ability to avoid pain and better spinal movement. You will be surprised to know that he participated in the 2019 Masters and won the tournament.
The Significance of ALIF Procedure
Spinal Fusion Surgery Plano TX such as ALIF is a modern method used to remove a degenerative disc in the lumbar (lower back) spine. It is a minimally invasive approach, which is performed from the front to create a solid bridge or fusion between the two vertebrae.
Tiger Woods underwent ALIF to alleviate pain, tingling, and numbness caused by the degenerative lumbar disc. Your surgeon will perform a detailed assessment to confirm whether or not you are a candidate for the ALIF procedure.
Steps Involved in ALIF
The ALIF is not an easy procedure. It requires careful examination and skill. At the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas, surgeons carry out the following steps to accurately perform the surgery without any complications.
First, the surgery team give general anesthesia to the patient and then give him preoperative intravenous antibiotics. The patient is then laid on his or her back on an operating table.
Usually, surgeons prefer or use a radiolucent operating table. Then, the surgeon uses a 3-8cm incision to the left side of the belly button. This way, the muscles, intestines, and tissues are moved to the side of the abdomen.
The next step is important, which involves the removal of damaged intervertebral discs. The surgeons leave some of the dis walls behind to contain the bone graft. Besides, they use special distractor instruments to restore the normal disc height. This allows them to determine the optimal bone graft size.
Moreover, the surgeons fill a metal cage with bone graft, which is then carefully implanted in the disc space. The purpose of implantation is the realignment of vertebrae and the release of pressure from the pinched nerve roots. The surgeons use fluoroscopic X-rays to confirm the proper placement of the bone graft.
In general, this procedure is quite beneficial in terms of securing the vertebrae. However, if you need additional support for the spine, the surgeons may use rods and screws for support during the process of healing. This connects the two vertebrae.
The bone graft grows through the implant over time. The intestines, muscles, and blood vessels are then put back in their position. Next, using sterile antibiotics, the surgeons wash the wound area. The ALIF procedure ends with the sewing and gluing of the skin.
Benefits of ALIF
ALIF provides a wide range of benefits, which include restoring degenerative disc to the normal height, stabilizing the spinal area, improving the pain symptoms such as tingling and numbness. It is a minimally invasive approach, which allows you to have a quick recovery.
The best thing about Spinal Fusion Surgery Plano TX, such as ALIF, is that after the surgery, the patient will walk soon. It is important to keep in mind that you need to take some pain medications during the period of recovery.
Also, physical therapy is essential to return back to normal function. Research shows that the person can have a quick recovery in 3-5 months. Typically, you don’t have any restrictions and can function normally. Likewise, most patients can return to work 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure.
In summary, ALIF is a minimally invasive procedure used to access the spine from the front with smaller incisions in the lower abdominal area. The surgeon removes the disc to prepare the space where he or she could implant or cage – i.e., putting the bone graft.
Just like Tiger Woods’ back surgeon, the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas has qualified health professionals and surgeons who know how to perform the spinal fusion surgery Plano TX successfully.