Doctor discusses Tiger's back injury

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
News 12 First at Five

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Tiger Woods won the Masters for the fifth time, two years after his most recent back surgery.

Dr. Oskouei says the reasons athletes are staying in the game longer is because of advancements in technology and medicine, in particular, the way they perform surgeries.

“In April of 2017 he had his latest surgery which was an actual fusion surgery called a MIS or minimally-invasive surgery," said Oskouei.

Dr. Armin Oskouei is a spine surgeon in Atlanta. He performs the surgery Woods had, specifically an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion.

“He had a bulging disc that was pushing on the nerve," said Oskouei.

Dr. Oskouei says Woods' surgery was done using new technology.

"In the MIS world a lot of times you're looking at cameras up on a screen that are hanging from the ceiling, you're looking up at these long instruments that are very long tools that are made to go inside the body," said Oskouei.

But that's not how it has always been done. In fact, he says some doctors still do it the old school way, which can lead to more scar tissue and more pain down the road.

"A lot of places it still is a very large surgery where you have to do a 12-inch incision and you have to take off a lot of muscle and bone from the patient to be able to get to the area where you're going to do the major surgery," said Oskouei.

The new technology is also helping with rotator cuff and ACL injuries. It's one of the big reasons athletes are able to keep going into their later years.

"If you can get it done MIS then the risks are much lower, infection rates are lower, you get to go home, you're also more likely to recover and actually be able to continue playing sports," said Oskouei.

Dr. Oskouei says the best advice is for you to research how doctors do a specific surgery before signing up to get it done. Also, if you have pain get it checked out because once an area goes numb from nerve damage, it decreases a doctors chance of fixing the problem.