Tiger Woods is back.

After a 15 month absence from professional golf, Woods is competing in the Hero World Challenge event this week. This is Woods' first event since September of 2015, when he underwent a second microdisectomy surgery (he also underwent a follow-up procedure a month later).

A microdisectomy is typically performed to relieve pain from a herniated disc fragment. See Lumbar Herniated Disc: What You Should Know

With microdisectomy surgery back in the news, we thought it would be a good time to explain this relatively common procedure.

See Microdiscectomy (Microdecompression) Spine Surgery

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Need for a microdisectomy surgery

Before we talk about how the surgery works, lets quickly look at why someone might need a microdisectomy surgery.

See How Microdiscectomy Surgery Is Performed

A small portion of your bone, or disc material from a herniated disc, can irritate one of your nerve roots. This in turn can result in considerable leg pain. A microdisectomy surgery removes the irritant, and allows space for your nerve to heal.

See Postoperative Care for Lumbar Microdiscectomy Surgery

The procedure

A microdisectomy surgery to remove a disc fragment begins with a roughly 1 inch incision in the midline of your lower back.

Watch: Microdiscectomy Surgery Video: A Spine Surgeon Explains the Procedure

Your surgeon will then perform the following steps:

  • Your back muscles are lifted off the bony arch of your spine.
  • Next, a membrane over your nerve roo] is removed.
  • On occasion, a portion of your inside facet joint is removed to allow access to your nerve root, and to relieve the pressure over your nerve.
  • Finally, your nerve root is moved to the side, and the disc material is removed from under your nerve root.

See Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerve Roots

The success rate for a microdisectomy surgery is estimated to be between 90 and 95 percent.

Risks and complications

While rare, there are risks associated with a microdisectomy procedure; including any of the following:

  • Nerve root damage
  • Bowel/bladder incontinence
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

See Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery: Risks, Complications, and Success Rates

I hope all of the above information helps you better understand microdisectomy surgery. And we here at Spine-health wish Tiger Woods all the best as he returns to the world of golf following his microdisectomy surgery.

Learn more:

Pain Management After Microdiscectomy Surgery

Stretching Exercise after Microdiscectomy Surgery