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Dr. Schuler Breaks Down The Spine Surgery That Helped Tiger Woods Get Back On The Golf Course

Authored by Dr. Thomas Schuler, MD, FACS, FAAOS. October 31, 2019

After having his career derailed by intractable back pain and failed extensive nonoperative management, Tiger Woods rebounded to win his 82nd PGA Tour victory in Japan. He returned to competition on the golf course after undergoing an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) at the L5-S1 level. This spine surgery has placed him back at the peak level of his career. In fact earlier this year, he won the Masters Tournament after coming back from a spinal fusion, and now has just won his 82nd PGA Tour to tie the all-time record for PGA Tour victories this weekend in Japan.

The message to those suffering from back pain and neck pain is that through the miracles of modern spinal surgery, there is hope that you can overcome your disability.

Properly performed modern surgical procedures are life-changing and life-improving. An anterior lumbar fusion is a method to stabilize the spine so that you can regain full active function. Typically, and in Tiger Woods’ case, significant degeneration happens, as we age, at the base of the spine especially in an athlete who is constantly performing stressful rotational activities. With the advanced degeneration of the discs, normal functions and clearly elite functions become impossible. Once the disc is removed and stabilized with a fusion especially using anterior lumbar interbody fusion techniques, it is expected for them to be able to return to their prior level of activity. I myself have performed the anterior lumbar fusion surgeries on professional athletes, elite military personnel, and many amateur athletes, thus enabling them to get back to their lives, their families, and successful activities.

We applaud Tiger’s success and hope that the millions who suffer from back problems can now understand that there is hope that they can overcome their problem and they have the knowledge that with proper technique this is successful.

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Dr. Thomas Schuler, MD, FACS, FAAOS

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