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March 25/09 18:04 pm - Lance Armstrong’s Surgery Succesful

Posted by Editoress on 03/25/09

Lance Armstrong’s Clavicle In Four Pieces / Succesful Surgery

Astana press release

Lance Armstrong had successful surgery today to repair what doctors originally thought was a “simple” fracture of his clavicle (more commonly referred to as the collarbone).  “This was not correct,” said Dr. Doug Elenz, an Austin orthopedic surgeon who frequently operates on athletes.  “It was not in two, but four pieces.”  Dr. Elenz, along with another surgeon and physician’s assistant, used a five inch stainless steel plate with 12 screws to repair Armstrong’s fracture.  He noted that this was more than they would normally use, but necessary based on the extent of the fracture.

Armstrong would not spend the night in the hospital but soon be taken to his home here in Austin to recuperate.  In terms of rehabilitation, the doctor wants Armstrong to take it easy for a week to let the wound heal, then start back into aerobic training using some form of stationary exercise bike so as not use his upper extremities, and then they’d see about getting back on the road.

As expected, many of the questions revolved around when Armstrong would be able to be back on the bike training, if not racing.  “Normally we see 8-12 weeks for something like this to heal completely,” Dr. Elenz said, stressing the word “completely”.  He went on to say that it would be a day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month progression as they first looked for radiographic union (evidence of bone growth), a stable fracture with no plate movement, increased arm motion and fluidity, and Armstrong’s own pain factor.  While Dr. Elenz would not give a firm date on when he expected Armstrong to return to racing, he said that it will heal and he needs to give it time so he can get back to racing.

More information and more extended quotes from Dr. Elenz at


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