Lance Armstrong had successful surgery Wednesday in Austin, Texas, to repair what doctors originally thought was a simple fracture of his collarbone.
"This was not correct," said Dr. Doug Elenz, an Austin orthopedic surgeon, as reported on the Astana team website, www.astana-cyclingteam.com. "It was not in two, but four pieces." Dr. Elenz, along with another surgeon and a 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 would be taken to his home in Austin to recuperate. In terms of rehabilitation, the doctor wants Armstrong to take it easy for a week to let the wound heal, start back into aerobic training using a stationary bike so as not use his upper body, and then he would see about letting Armstrong out on the road.
"Normally we see 8-12 weeks for something like this to heal completely," Dr. Elenz said, stressing the word "completely." Doctors will monitor Armstrong's arm strength, range of motion in his shoulder, as well as his pain level in order to decide what kind of training he can do. 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.
Armstrong broke his collarbone during stage one of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon in Spain on Monday.