Michael Buffer

International Boxing Hall of Fame Recipient


In 1999, while walking my dog, I found myself practically paralyzed with back pain. Somehow I got back into my house and with a call to my general practitioner was able find a little relief with the usual dose of steroids one can expect at the first sign of back pain. After that while having continuous bouts of mild to severe attacks of back pain I was inundated with well-intentioned advice from friends and relatives. My brother had a deep tissue masseuse visit me and I thought he was going to kill me with a massage from hell. Then, and again after another offer of advice, went to an acupuncturist and of course that was a total waste of time. Up next was a visit to a chiropractor. That turned out to be the biggest waste of time ever as I was given the usual pitch of how I can have a normal life as long as I continue to be ”adjusted” for the rest of my life.

Now, and finally, I was referred to Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins. When I use the word, ”finally”, I mean it in the most sincere way as it was to be–after more than a year–my final step in looking for and receiving the best medical attention possible.


After my initial visit he knew exactly what the problem was but we had to find the cause. First step, a complete and comprehensive MRI. After studying the images, he found a facet cyst pinching my nerve. Keep in mind that up until this, I had had X-rays and this was never discovered. The cyst was apparently the culprit that initiated the problems. The first step in isolating this as the 100% problem was to aspirate it. After that was done I had unbelievable relief but the cyst still existed and it would swell back to again cause problems so it would need to be surgically removed. This is a very delicate procedure but as Dr. Hopkins now was 100% positive we could move forward. On October 1, 2001 at St. John’s Hospital, Dr. Hopkins surgically removed a cyst from my spine. I walked out the following morning and felt great.

When Dr. Hopkins studied that first MRI he had also found some other things that could be problematic in the near or distant future. I had arthritis and bone spurs that could trigger disc issues and since the now removed cyst had been causing pain for so long there could most likely be episodes of discomfort as a result of nerve ”memory”. This information ended up being another example of Dr. Hopkins’ expertise as six years later I needed surgery (L3-L4 microdiscectomy) on December 3, 2007.

Over the next nine years I needed surgery twice more, L5-S1 microdiscectomy in 2011 and 2016 for L3-L4 herniated disc plus stenosis of foramen on left of L5-S1.

One of the things that always left me impressed with Dr. Hopkins was every time I would need an MRI I always would get comments from the techs about his insistence of thorough scans. The same at St. John’s Hospital when checking in it was always, ”Oh, he’s the best”…in O.R. prep I’d hear the same thing and when the nursing staff knew I was his patient, I was always informed that I was very lucky to have Dr. Hopkins. I have to agree.

Over the last 16 years Dr. Thomas Hopkins has kept me on my feet and able to continue working. I’ve met other orthopedists through the years, some for help with things other than spinal and others socially and when his name is mentioned it never fails to get kudos and compliments. He is known among his patients and peers as the very best.

As I already stated, I have to agree!

Michael Buffer
Ready To Rumble, LLC