March 17, 2008
Reported by: Britney Glaser
Each year, 200,000 Americans undergo total hip replacement. For younger
patients leading active lives, this surgery can oftentimes leave them with
physical limitations they did not have before going under the knife. But
now, there’s an exciting new hip procedure – one that’s transformed the
cycling career of a Tour de France winner.
For 15 years, cycling has been
Floyd Landis’s passion – but when he broke his hip while training in
2003, the arthritis that developed eventually became unbearable. "It’s hard
to explain arthritis if you’ve never had it," says Landis, "it’s just
something that’s always there – and it affects everything, it affects your
mood. I’m quite happy that it’s been solved."
Landis peddled with the pain until 2006. After winning Tour de France,
he chose a revolutionary technique called Birmingham Hip Resurfacing to
repair his hip. Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. John Noble, performs the BHR procedure
locally and says it’s the ideal alternative to total hip replacement in
younger patients. "I would say that the young, active patients who have
significant arthritis or significant dysplasia – that is a shallowness of
the socket – those are patients who would benefit from hip resurfacing,"
says Dr. Noble.
BHR uses a bone-conserving technique where surgeons shave just a few
centimeters of bone rather than removing the entire hip joint. "We divide
the tissue directly over the bone," says Dr. Noble, "we make an exposure to
dislocate the hip and move the hip and ball out of the way to allow exposure
to the socket and then we ream the socket with a device that looks like a
cheese grater and then we implant the socket." The size of the implant is
matched to the patient’s own joint, reducing the risk for dislocation or
uneven leg length.
Dr. Noble says the results have been phenomenal. "99.5 percent of the
patients were either pleased or very pleased with their procedure," says Dr.
Noble, "and those are pretty extraordinary results – we just don’t see that
very often with many operations."
It’s been a year and a half since Landis had the BHR procedure. He is
now back to riding and says his determination *and hips are the strongest
they’ve been in years. "It’s as good as new," says Landis, "and certainly
is much better than it was the last two years when I had the arthritis
problem. I’ll certainly be better off and not just because of that, but
more determined than ever."
*If you’re wondering what brought Floyd Landis to Southwest Louisiana, he
took part in a ride over the weekend that raised $5,000 for the Calcasieu
*To learn more about the BHR technique,