7 celebrity spine surgeries and who performed them — Drs. Robert Watkins, Richard Guyer & more


Here are seven of the most high-profile spine surgeries on celebrities and sports starts and who performed them:

To suggest a notable spine surgery to be included in this list, contact Alan Condon at acondon@beckershealthcare.com. 

1. Tiger Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2017 to remove a large portion of a degenerative disc. Richard Guyer, MD, of Plano-based Texas Back Institute, performed the procedure with Centinel Spine's Anterior Lumbar Integrated Interbody fusion device to alleviate pain in Mr. Woods' back and legs.

2. To address a disc herniation toward the end of his NFL career, Peyton Manning underwent a single-level anterior cervical fusion anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Robert Watkins III, MD, and Robert Watkins IV, MD, of Marina Spine Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., performed the procedure. In 2012, after recovering from surgery, Mr. Manning was drafted by the Denver Broncos and led the team to a Super Bowl in 2016.

4. In 2010, "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey ruptured a disc in her back and underwent four cervical spine surgeries. X-rays indicated that her neck had a dramatic angulation and one vertebra was slipping onto another. Neurological spine surgeon Robert Bray, MD, founder of DISC Sports and Spine Center in Newport Beach, Calif., performed an anterior fusion through the front of Ms. Grey's neck to realign it, and placed a titanium plate to lock the joint back into position.

5. U2 frontman Bono sought treatment after suffering a severe compression of the sciatic nerve in 2010. An MRI scan revealed an 8mm tear in the ligament and a herniated disc. Dr. Jörg-Christian Tonn, chief physician in the department of adult and pediatric neurosurgery at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, performed the procedure, during which he found fragments of the disc that had entered the spinal canal. 

6. In 2012, Dr. Watkins IV, operated on the then-Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard to repair a herniated disc. After rehabilitation, Mr. Howard returned to prowess with the Los Angeles Lakers, but suffered with back pain later in his career. In 2018, after being diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, Dr. Watkins IV performed an L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy on Mr. Howard.

6. Hooman Melamed, MD, of Marina del Rey, Calif.-based DISC Sports and Spine Center, performed emergency spine surgery on former "Dance Moms" star Abby Lee Miller in 2018. The procedure was done at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles, where Dr. Melamed serves as scoliosis director.

7. In 2013, Andrew Dossett, MD, a spinal consultant for the Dallas Cowboys operated on quarterback Tony Romo to repair a disc herniation. Earlier that year, Dr. Dossett removed a cyst from Mr. Romo, and surgery allowed him to continue playing in the NFL until he retired in 2016. 

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