rediscover Spokesperson

Brian Gay:
Life After Disc Replacement Surgery

People are amazed at my recovery and how quickly I was able to get back to my personal and professional activities. As a professional golfer, I had confidence in the prodisc system based on its inherent stability and long-term history of success. Stability was especially important considering my extensive physical activities.

Brian Gay

Five-Time PGA Tour Winner

Age: 46

From: Orlando, Florida

Surgery Date: October 2014

Procedure Type: Total Disc Replacement with prodisc C

Interests: Golf, Traveling, Winter Sports

Life Before prodisc:

PGA golfer Brian Gay receives disc replacementBorn into a military family living in Fort Worth, Texas, from a young age, Brian led an active lifestyle and found his passion for playing golf after school and during the summers. He played golf throughout high school—competing in numerous Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) and United States Golf Association (USGA) events— and was eventually offered a scholarship to play at the University of Florida. After graduation, he started a professional golf career marked by several PGA Tour events. In his personal life, Brian was also very active and enjoyed traveling and spending time with his wife, Kimberly, and daughters, Makinley and Brantley.

“At this time, the pain became debilitating and I lost strength in my left arm. I couldn’t sleep or remain active.”

Unfortunately, in 2008, Brian started struggling with intermittent neck and arm discomfort characterized by muscle spasms and tightness. Through a trainer and his network of friends, Brian was referred to a spine surgeon who specializes in total disc replacement. Though his surgeon initially recommended conservative care at Brian’s first consultation, he also mentioned that total disc replacement may be an option in the future if his symptoms progressed. For the next several years, Brian was able to manage the flare-ups of discomfort with pain medications, physical therapy, and ice/heat treatments. In 2011, however, Brian was rear-ended in a car accident, which exacerbated his symptoms. Despite this, Brian was able to manage his normal activities and continue to play golf.

By 2014, the neck and arm discomfort had become severe—with pain and numbness radiating from his neck through his shoulder, bicep, and down his arm through his hands. According to Brian, “At this time, the pain became debilitating and I lost strength in my left arm. I couldn’t sleep or remain active.” To his dismay, Brian was forced to stop playing golf, and his family became increasingly concerned about Brian’s inability to work and compete. He consulted with multiple spine surgeons and ultimately opted for a total disc replacement procedure that his surgeon had mentioned years ago—as it offered the opportunity to maintain neck mobility and flexibility post-operatively.


Life After prodisc:

PGA golfer receives cervical disc replacementBrian underwent a total disc replacement procedure with prodisc C in October 2014 and was discharged from the hospital on the same day. Immediately, he was already walking and was amazed that he didn’t need to wear a neck brace—just a small bandage over the incision site. Although he had some post-operative tightness and soreness in his neck and throat, the radiating nerve pain was gone. Additionally, the numbness in his arm and hand disappeared, except for a small part on the tip of his thumb.

“I feel like my activity level is now a 10 out of 10! My recovery after prodisc C was amazing.”

In the weeks following surgery, Brian walked multiple times daily and did physical therapy three times each week to help regain muscle strength and neck mobility. After the first month, Brian slowly started playing golf and was even able to travel to Vail, Colorado with his family and go snowmobiling! By six weeks post-op, he was cleared to return to all activities.

Now, Brian has no limitations and competes professionally at a high level. Since his surgery in 2014, Brian has competed in over 70 PGA Tour events, over 10 of which he finished in the top 10. In fact, his 2020 win at the Bermuda Championship was his first championship since 2013! Brian proudly notes, “I feel like my activity level is now a 10 out of 10! My recovery after prodisc C was amazing.”

Important Note: The patient information presented is for general education purposes only. As with any spine surgery, there are potential benefits, complications, and risks associated with disc replacement and spinal fusion procedures. Individual results may vary. It is important that you discuss the possible risks and potential benefits of various procedures with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s best judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for a specific surgical procedure.

They Regained Their Lives

These individuals can inspire your journey to healing and life after disc replacement surgery—and the hope of freedom from spine-induced pain and discomfort.

Find a Surgeon

To Find a Spine Surgeon That's Right for You, Use our Surgeon Locator

Find a Surgeon Today