What Is ALIF? – Tiger Woods’ Miraculous Back Surgery
What is ALIF surgery for lower back pain? How did Woods back surgery help him relieve his lower back pain and come back to professional golf? Tiger Woods is a professional athlete with a world-class career and numerous titles to his name.
However, Woods also experienced severe back pain for many years, which caused him to withdraw from many tournaments. In today’s article, we will answer: What is ALIF surgery? Read on!
What Is ALIF?
Soft-tissue injuries are the primary cause of lumbar spine pain. These injuries include compression of nerve roots, damage to intervertebral discs, and improper spinal joints’ movement. Besides, a torn or pulled muscle can also cause lower back pain.
ALIF is an advanced spinal procedure that focuses on the lumbar spine. According to neurosurgeons at MINT, ALIF aims to repair or fix spinal deformities, structural deformities, vertebral instability, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and other conditions.
The surgeon accesses the lumbar spine’s large vertebra during the surgery through a small incision in the abdomen. So, ALIF is different from the traditional open-back and other spinal fusion surgeries.
ALIF surgery has many advantages. It allows the surgeon to follow a less obstructed route to your spine’s damaged disc. The purpose is to reduce the risk of damage to your spinal tissues and nerves.
Once your surgeon makes the incision, they use specialized instruments to retract muscles, tissues, organs, and blood vessels. That way, the surgeon avoids disturbing the delicate tissues, leading to a more comfortable and pain-free procedure.
You are up and around a few hours after the procedure. Because it takes about 3-6 months for the bone graft material to fuse the bones, you will have to avoid some physical activities, such as lifting heavy objects or making inappropriate movements. However, you must undergo physical therapy and supervised exercises to speed up the recovery process.
Woods Back Surgery
What Is ALIF? Tiger Woods underwent ALIF surgery in 2017. A reputable and experienced orthopedic surgeon performed the procedure, allowing Woods to relieve pain in his lumbar spine and return to his professional career.
ALIF surgery allowed Woods to win the 2019 Masters tournament. Tiger had previously undergone three surgeries to relieve his lower back. However, these surgeries narrowed his disc in the lumbar spine.
As a result, Woods experienced severe pain in his back and leg. Woods underwent regular physical therapy sessions and took medications. However, these treatments failed to alleviate his back pain and sciatica.
That’s why Woods discussed his concerns with a qualified orthopedic surgeon who recommended him to undergo ALIF surgery. The surgeon removed the damaged disc between L5 and S1 and filled the space with a bone graft to fuse the bones.
The surgeon approached the spine from the abdomen, meaning he spared Woods’ spine’s delicate structures. ALIF surgery preserves muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves in the lower back.
Therefore, it is one of the best procedures for people with an active lifestyle. So, Woods back surgery was a success. Woods surgeon restored the normal alignment of his lower spine by placing a quality bone graft between the affected L5 and S1 vertebrae.
The graft restored the alignment using a mesh cage to solidify the two bones into a single structure. So, this is how Woods relieved his severe back pain and restored his lower back stability.
Contact MINT Today
MINT is a professional neurosurgery clinic with experienced and board-certified neurosurgeons who can perform ALIF surgery successfully. Our surgeon makes small incisions to prevent blood loss. Likewise, the surgeon leads to less pain after the procedure and less scarring. It also has shorter recovery times.
The anterior approach followed by our MINT’s neurosurgeons in Plano, TX, allow them to spare the delicate structures in your spine. At the same time, it enables our neurosurgeon to adequately place the graft material, making the procedure more successful than PLIF, TLIF, XLIF, etc.
No manipulation of your spinal nerves means a reduced risk of permanent damage to your lower back. The anterior approach also allows our board-certified neurosurgeons to retract the muscles without causing any damages. That way, the fusion occurs accurately, leading to the accelerated recovery of the patient.
Our neurosurgery team working under the leadership of Dr. Scott Kutz, has many years of combined experience in performing procedures like ALIF. Our neurosurgeons specialize in various spinal procedures to treat a wide range of disorders, including degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and sciatic pain. What Is ALIF? Contact us today for more information.