Floyd Landis’ hip replacement

September 30, 2006

We all know by now that Floyd Landis’ surgery was reported as successful. I did notice that he chose to undergo a different procedure, femoral head resurfacing. I thought that was an interesting choice as this is not the traditional total hip replacement. This procedure has the advantage of being minimally invasive (smaller incision). The downside is that long term outcomes of this type of procedure are not as well known.

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor much less an orthopaedic surgeon. I did not even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Therefore I should not be thought of as an expert on anything (except beer).

Looking through the literature on published studies that may give insight into what Floyd can expect, there is one study from the Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research that looks at this. The abstract can be viewed on the National Institutes of Health website.

One reason, I suspect, that data is not as available is that payers may not be inclined to pay for this surgery over total hip replacement because they do not want to pay for the same surgery twice. Once for the resurfacing and then again when/if the femoral neck breaks. Bone breaks. titanium does not.

Another thought when reading this. First, an athlete in supreme physicial condition should have better outcomes. Second, current outcomes measurements do not apply to Floyd. For example, does returning to normal life mean racing at a high level?

Editors Note: My apologies. I accidentally deleted the original post when I came back to edit it to add some interesting postulations on outcomes and the world class athlete. It is being dubbed “The Lance Armstrong effect.” I’ll get to that at a later time since I used my time this morning recreating the post. Unfortunately, the comments are gone. Again, I’m sorry. Off to soccer and lacrosse!