Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

By Gregory Keller, MD with Ehren Allen, DPT


What Kind of Back Surgery did Tiger Woods have?

Since the famous episode in which Tiger Woods fell to his knees during a tournament due to back spasms, he has required multiple spine surgeries.  From 2013 to 2017 he had 4 procedures.  The 4th surgical procedure was an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF).  An ALIF procedure is an operation in which the experienced spine surgeon enters from the front of the body.  This allows them to access the large bodies of the vertebrae with less disruption of back musculature.

Image of Tiger Woods after ALIF with Centinel Spine

Image of Tiger Woods after his comeback from Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgery


To Read the Full Press Release about Tiger Woods and his back surgery, Click this Link.


What is a Lumbar Spinal Fusion?

A spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which a skilled spine surgeon connects 2 or more bones in the spine together.  This prevents movement between the 2 bones or vertebrae.  The purpose is to limit movements which are causing pain and altering function.  During the procedure, the spine surgeon removes part or all of the intervertebral disk.  The disk is tissue that provides cushion and space between 2 vertebrae.  It provides cushion and allows movement of the spine.  If the disk becomes damaged or diseased, it can lead to movement disorders and cause significant pain or other neurological symptoms in the back, buttocks, and legs.

When the disk is removed, an artificial spacer is placed between the vertebrae to maintain the height and space for the nerve structures in the spine.  Screws and sometimes bone grafts are placed in the vertebrae to hold the spacer in place and prevent movement between the 2 vertebrae.

There are several options for the Lumbar spine surgeon for a Lumbar Spine Fusion Procedure.  These include:

  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) – enter from the back
  • Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) – enter from the side
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) – enter from the front


Which Lumbar Fusion Implant did Tiger Woods Get?

STALIF M TI Lumbar Fusion Device

Image of STALIF M TI Lumbar Fusion Device

Tiger Woods and his surgeon selected the STALIF M TI device from Centinel Spine.  The STALIF is a type of Lumbar fusion with a front approach which is more minimally invasive.  It requires a smaller incision than other Anterior (front) entry procedures.   This can mean a faster healing time.

Dr. Gregory Keller explains the STALIF M Ti procedure in this VIDEO.


How Long is the Recovery after an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Procedure with the STALIF M TI device from Centinel Spine?

The recovery time is typically 3 months to return to activities such as golf and recreational activities.  Most patients are able to return to work after about 3 weeks though.

To see the segment, “TIGER WOODS: REBORN“,Click this VIDEO LINK.


How do I know if the Front Approach Lumbar Fusion is Right for Me?

Only a Board Certified Spinal Surgeon can determine is you are a candidate for the STALIF M TI device and procedure.  Dr. Gregory Keller of the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute is one of few surgeons to attain the comprehensive certification from Centinel Spine for Lumbar and Cervical procedures, including the STALIF M TI that Tiger Woods received.

Dr. Gregory Keller

Image of Dr. Gregory Keller









Dr. Keller is a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Spine surgeon.  He studied Medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical School. Dr. Keller performed his orthopaedic surgery training at the University of Florida Health Science Center. He completed a fellowship in spine surgery with Shannon Stauffer, M.D. at Southern Illinois University Medical School. Dr. Gregory Keller is Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.


JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP fracture and injury care. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000.


To schedule an Appointment with Dr. Gregory Keller, call JOI-2000 or click the link below.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

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Ehren Allen, PT, COMT

Image of Ehren Allen, PT, COMT – Content Writer.

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