Microsurgery Rescues a Giant: Knee Arthroscopy is a Success for Tiger Woods
December 18, 2002
By Randall Conrad, Knee1 Staff
Top-ranked golf champion Tiger Woods underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on December 12 at HealthSouth Surgical Center in Park City, Utah. Dr. Thomas D. Rosenberg performed the one-hour procedure to remove fluid and benign cysts from Woods’s left knee. A benign tumor had been removed from the same knee in 1994.
Knee arthroscopy, a revolutionary technique in orthopedic surgery, is used today to perform many types of repair and reconstruction in addition to diagnostic procedures. A fiberoptic mini-camera is inserted through one small incision near the knee, allowing the surgeon a direct view of the joint structures, while surgical micro-instruments are inserted through other incisions. Small incisions called portals sometimes aid in the draining of fluid from the affected area.
In Woods’s case, the procedure enabled Dr. Rosenberg to remove fluid that had built up inside and outside the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the knee’s most frequently injured ligament among athletes.
Progressive inflammation had dogged the superstar for months. Woods complained of pain while competing in PGA Tour Championship rounds in November. In spite of the distress, Woods became the first player in 30 years to win the Masters and US Open Championships in the same season. He also won four other tournaments.
But the inflammation was taking its toll. After winning the Tour Championship Woods was examined and treated with ice and anti-inflammatory drugs. After three subsequent weeks of play that included a record-breaking win in the PGA Grand Slam in Hawaii, Woods was limping seriously in the final round of the Target World Challenge, finishing second.
"I had been playing in pain most of the year and felt it was time to take care of it," Woods said.
The arthroscopic procedure was "uneventful," said Dr. Rosenberg. "Progressive, full recovery is expected over the next couple of months." As part of the treatment, Woods is scheduled for light rehabilitation. This is the first time that Woods, a two-time Mercedes winner who has led the PGA circuit in earnings for four consecutive seasons, has canceled a tournament.owing to injury.
Since arthroscopy is much less invasive than conventional surgery, the patient heals more quickly and recovers in less time. Although Woods will miss the Mercedes Championships which open the season in Maui, Hawaii, in January, he expects to be back in form soon after that.
"I'm looking forward to a full recovery and a great start to 2003," Woods told his fans.