The Latest Golf Term: Tiger’s Microdisectomy

by Jeff Skinner

Tiger Woods has worked over the years to build up his body and we have seen him grow from a gangly teen to a bulked up, weight lifting fiend who carries plenty of weight on his formerly slight frame.

Tiger’s microdisectomy surgery is the latest in a long line of ailments that have threatened Tiger’s career.  Click here for a time line of Tiger’s injuries that started way back in 2002 and have been a constant in his life since his ’08 win at the U.S. Open when he limped to victory on a broken leg and torn ACL.

tiger grimaceFor Woods to submit to surgery at this point signifies that this is about as serious as it gets.  Back surgery is an iffy thing, for a regular person, no less a world class athlete.  Golf puts an inordinate amount of strain on the back and Woods in particular has spent decades twisting and turning his back with his explosive swing.

There is some debate as to the effectiveness of this surgery and the ability of an athlete to return to his former level of athleticism.   The recovery could take two to four months or even longer. 

Woods’ level of commitment to physical fitness should help him recover but it may be that same level of competitiveness and the constant weight lifting that got him here in the first place.

Certainly, Woods isn’t the only golfer with back issues as anyone that swings a club regularly can attest to.  But when you’re one of the most famous athletes on earth the focus on this particular back surgery won’t subside anytime soon.

Tiger is out of the ’14 Masters and his chase to Mount Nicklaus is on hold again.  The question that can’t be answered remains: Can Tiger come back from this one?

Here is the definition of a Microdisectomy from WebMd.com.

Discectomy is surgery to remove lumbar (low back) herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord.tiger kneeling

It tends to be done as microdiscectomy, which uses a special microscope to view the disc and nerves. This larger view allows the surgeon to use a smaller cut (incision). And this causes less damage to surrounding tissue.

Before the disc material is removed, a small piece of bone (the lamina) from the affected vertebra may be removed. This is called a laminotomy or laminectomy. It allows the surgeon to better see the herniated disc.

Discectomy is usually done in a hospital. You are asleep or numb during the surgery. You will probably stay in the hospital overnight.

After surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk as soon as the numbness wears off. You can use prescription medicines to control pain while you recover. You can slowly resume exercise and other activities.

Click here for a video of and actual microdisectomy on YouTube.


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