Tiger Woods- Victory after Minimally Invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Tiger Woods made a historic and astounding comeback at this year’s Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, winning his fifth green jacket and his 15th major title.

Yet, just a short time before this amazing rebound, Woods suffered from years of intolerable low back pain. After many rounds of intense conservative therapy followed by four back surgeries, injections, nerve blocks and other interventions, Tiger Woods, one of the most dominating professional golf players in history, was still in agony.
He was exhausted. At his lowest point, he had resigned himself attempting to permanently retire from the game he so loved.

The final straw came spring of 2017 at that year’s Masters Champions Dinner. Just to be able to walk into the room he had to have a nerve block. Woods, the great athlete, was now invalid.

Finally giving in, Tiger found Dr. Richard Guyer at the Texas Back Institute. Dr. Guyer, after examination, recommended a minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion (MIS ALIF) at L5-S1.

According to Tiger Woods, after the surgery, “I was able to start to walk again. I was able to participate in life. I was able to be around my kids again, go to their games and practices, take them to school. These were the things that I couldn’t do for a long time. Golf wasn’t in my near future or even distant future.”

As time passed, Woods considered the possibility of playing competitive golf. He expressed this to his surgeon and under his guidance, began to swing the club again.

Roughly one year later, Tiger Woods won the Master’s tournament in what will be remembered for the ages as one of the greatest achievements.

Know that you have options. You do not have to live with chronic low back pain forever.

Who is a candidate for ALIF?

You may be a candidate for ALIF if you have:

  • degenerative disc disease with numbness, pain, or tingling in legs or toes
  • spondylolisthesis
  • scoliosis
  • symptoms that have not improved with physical therapy, injections, medication, or other conservative management treatments

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion may be helpful in treating:

  • Degenerative disc disease: the drying and shrinkage of discs with age. As the disc thins or herniates, the vertebrae bones rub and pinch the nerves.
  • Spondylolisthesis: a forward slip of a vertebra bone out of its normal position. It can kink and compress the nerves, causing pain.
  • Spinal stenosis: the narrowing of the spinal canal and nerve root canals. Enlarged facet joints and ligaments pinch the nerves causing pain and numbness in the legs.
  • Scoliosis: an abnormal curve of the spine caused by misalignment of the bones. In adults this occurs from aging discs, arthritis, or previous spine surgery.

Who performs the ALIF procedure?

A neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon, along with a vascular surgeon, performs ALIF surgery. Dr. Spott has specialized training in minimally invasive spine surgery. Ask Dr. Spott about his training, especially if your case is complex or you have had previous spinal surgery.

We would love to talk about your specific condition and all the surgical or non- surgical options for your case.

Call Superior Orthopedics – 219.558.8068 and let us help you feel like yourself again.

Yours in Orthopedics,
-Ariel Brazzale RN, CSFA


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