Richard Lehman (surgeon)

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Richard Lehman
Dr Rick Lehman Sundance 2013.jpg
Dr. Rick Lehman at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival
Born (1954-11-14) November 14, 1954 (age 63)
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Residence St. Louis, Missouri
Citizenship American
Alma mater University of Minnesota
University of Miami School of Medicine
Known for Pioneering articular cartilage reconstruction procedure using two-phased cartilage grafts.
Awards St. Louis Sports Hall Of Fame, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

Richard C. Lehman, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri, who pioneered the procedure for articular cartilage reconstruction using two-phased cartilage grafts.[1] He's also been a central figure in sports injury treatment, presenting at over 30 conferences, as well as participating in multiple sports injury research projects.

He currently serves as the founder and medical director of the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine in Kirkwood, Missouri.[2]

Throughout his career, Lehman has written over 27 articles in science journals like Arthroscopy.[3] He has also authored and co-authored clinics in sports medicine and guidelines on how to sports teams can avoid injuries.

Lehman has treated sports superstars like NBA legend Michael Jordan, PGA tour champion Tiger Woods, NFL stars Jerome Bettis, Ty Law, Dez Bryant, Cam Newton as well as serving as chief medical consultant for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

Because of his advancements in sports medicine, Dr. Lehman was inducted into both the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Lehman grew up in Miami, Florida. He's married to St. Louis-based plastic surgeon Dr. Michele Koo and they have three children.


Dr. Lehman received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to two Big Ten tennis championships. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1980 with his M.D. degree. Dr. Lehman completed his internship and Orthopedic Surgery Residency at the Barnes Hospital / Washington University and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

During his medical education, Lehman received eight educational honors,[4] most notably when the Lake Tahoe Orthopedic Institute selected Lehman for a fellowship in 1983 and when he won the Eastern Orthopedic Cervical Spine Institute Award in 1986.

According to HealthGrades, a consumer-driven website devoted to grading American physicians, Dr. Lehman served residencies at Barnes Jewish Hospital, University of Pennsylvania Health System and Washington University Affiliated Hospitals.[5]

Sports medicine career[edit]

Dr. Lehman is licensed in Missouri and California and actively treats track and field athletes worldwide and professional sports athletes from North America. He focuses on rehabilitation of knee, shoulder and elbow injuries. According to the St. Louis Business Journal,[6] Lehman has "worked with pro football, hockey and baseball players as well as numerous Olympic athletes, starting with Jackie Joyner-Kersee."

Dr. Rick Lehman hosting the "Ask Dr Rick Show"

He has been appointed to Des Peres Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital of Kirkwood and Webster Surgical Center in Missouri. Dr. Lehman has served on Board of Directors of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Foundation, the medical director of Webster Surgery Center and the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine. He is on the Board of Governors for the National Hockey League and is on the St. Louis Sports Commission. His practice encompasses taking care of professional athletes at all levels and all sports, as well as Division college athletes.

Outside of the operating room, Lehman is a medical pundit who frequently appears on KTVI Fox 2 as well as KMOX to discuss sports medicine and injuries in addition to common medical topics.[7] He also hosts a weekly radio show about medicine and sports injuries on KFNS 590-AM.

He has been the team physician for the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning[8] and St. Louis Blues. He has been a consulting physician for UCLA Track & Field and has covered four Olympic Games, as well as seven Track and Field World Championships.

He was a part owner of the National Hockey League Florida Panthers, but sold the team in September 2013.[9]

Lehman came to the St. Louis Blues with former head coach and general manager Mike Keenan. Keenan was fired mid-season in 1997 and Lehman was dismissed as the team doctor at the end of the season, although he still treats a number of Blues players.[10]

In early 1998, Lehman and his business partners, backed by the resources of a competing local hospital chain, made an official offer of $1.2 million a year for the contract to make the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine the Cardinals official medical provider.[11]

Professional achievements[edit]

In conjunction with Biomet, Lehman revolutionized cartilage regeneration techniques to further growth and reconstruction of articular cartilage.[12] He's also written and lectured extensively on the subject.

Dr. Lehman has written three books on tennis injuries and published extensively in orthopedic literature and sports medicine journals.

In Racquet Sports: Injury Treatment and Prevention, Lehman created guidelines to help decrease the rehabilitation protocol and decrease the reinjury rate in tennis players. For the rehabilitation of the athlete with an injured shoulder, wrist or hand he recommended the appropriate size of a racquet, string tension, string type, grip size and tennis ball type. He included a graduated rehabilitation plan that cascaded from structured practice to structured matches.

Part of Dr. Lehman's motivation to provide such guidelines was due to the fact that open shoulder surgery at the time offered an unacceptably low rate of successful return to preinjury levels.[13] Thus, he championed a uniformly successful regimen and a prophylactic program to decrease the number of injured athletes.

In 2005, Dr. Lehman recommended a new fixation technique for lateral elbow reconstruction. This technique is described In Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery.[14] The diagnosis of posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow is difficult,[15] but is more common than elbow dislocations. Pinpointing this diagnosis, Lehman says, is subtle, depending on patient complaints of a significant pop in the elbow.

Treatment of this problem starts with physical therapy, diminishment of activity and aggressive strengthening. When the recurrent instability occurs and symptoms are not resolved, treatment is surgical. Dr. Lehman's technique uses interference fit screws instead of bone tunnels. The technique utilizes a standard free graft and the isometric points on the lateral epicondylar ride and ulna are identified, all improvements to the original procedure. Furthermore, fixation is completed after the isometricity of the insertion site is ensured and the graft is appropriately tensioned. This procedure is an upgrade because there is much less trauma to the elbow, the fixation is stronger and scarring is minimized with this technique.

In 2003, Dr. Lehman recommended an all-arthroscopic procedure for partial rotator cuff tears,[16] an area of arthroscopic surgery, including partial rotator cuff tear treatment and natural history, that was in a constant state of change. His recommendation centered around the idea that tears in the rotator cuff should be treated surgically when the cuff was torn more than 50% of the thickness or when substantial thinning of the rotator cuff is identified. Surgically treating partial rotator cuff tears, Lehman contended, would help protect and limit further breakdown, but, more importantly, addresses the need for increased blood supply in the rotator cuff and diminishes the chance for full rotator cuff tear.

However, even with the introduction of new arthroscopic techniques like Dr. Lehman's, there is still no standard treatment protocol for partial-thickness rotator cuff tears.[17]

Also in 2003, Dr. Lehman recommended a procedure to treat articular cartilage full-thickness lesions.[18] This procedure was a modification of the medical procedures microfracture and autologous autograft transplantation, two surgeries with shortcomings in terms of difficulty, expense, surgical morbidity and availability of grafting material.

In September 2010 at the International Cartilage Repair Society meeting in Barcelona, Spain, Dr. Lehman and Dr. Phillip A. Davidson presented a paper on the effectiveness and safety of a device known as the OsseoFit Porous Tissue Matrix,[19] believed to be the first report on the use of this device in a bone and cartilage application.[20]

Dr. Lehman isn't limited to surgical work with humans. In 2010 he was part of team of doctors exploring a new, two-phased tissue graft designed to repair bone and cartilage damage to horses. After four and twelve month check ups, the study suggests that this procedure improves defect fill earlier, as compared to microfracture, and is able to maintain repair out to 12-months post-operative.

Academic Assignments[edit]

In 1989, Lehman served on the Orthopedic Peer Review Committee of the Prudential Insurance Company of America.

While at Washington University School of Medicine, Lehman served as research assistant professor for the Physical Therapy and Irene Walter Johnson Institute of Rehabilitation. He kept this post from 1986 to 1992.

In 1984 and 1985, Lehman acted as Chief Instructor over the Orthopedic Curriculum at Washington University School of Physical Therapy and Irene Johnson Institute of Rehabilitation.

Professional Memberships[edit]

Dr. Lehman is a member of ten medical associations:

Business investments[edit]

After he bought into the Florida Panthers, Lehman's first investment opportunity involved a generic pharmaceutical company called Abrika, a start-up with Alan Cohen (also a Florida Panther's owner). Cohen had previously started and sold another pharmaceutical company called Andrx.

Lehman then joined Jordan Zimmerman of Zimmerman Advertising to buy and sell shopping centers in Boca Raton and Palm Beach, Florida.

Around 2002, Lehman and his partners invested in Green Maurer Golf LLC, a company that planned and designed a putter with a unique alignment system. GMG held seven patents on the club.[21] The company folded in 2006.[22]

In 2009, Lehman bought a stake in a St. Louis auto dealership,[23] launched a homebuilding business[24] and invested in a local bank, his first as a principal at a St. Louis bank, though he has an investment in a bank in San Diego.

In 2012, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Dr. Lehman is part of a St. Louis investment group headed by Tom Stillman that signed a purchase agreement to buy the St. Louis Blues NHL team.[citation needed]

Bonhomme Investment Partners LLC, of which Lehman is a member, defaulted on a 2012 loan from TheEdgeBank of Edwardsville, Illinois. In February 2014 a St. Louis County judge ordered Bonhomme Investment Partners and its guarantors, including Lehman, to pay TheEdgeBank. Lehman was ordered to pay nearly $3.3 million and subsequently was issued garnishments and property levies.[25]


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  2. ^ Mueller, Angela (2009-07-26). "Dr. Rick Lehman". 
  3. ^
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  5. ^ "Dr. Richard C. Lehman , MD - Free Doctor Profile - Orthopedic Surgery, located in Saint Louis, MO". Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  6. ^ Mueller, Angela (2009-07-26). "Dr. Rick Lehman". 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Share. "Tampa Bay Lightning - Team: Front Office". Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  9. ^ Davis, Craig. "Panthers' $250M sale includes arena operations". Sun Sentinel. 
  10. ^ Gotthelf, Josh (1997-10-19). "Washington U. team has inside track to doctor Cardinals". 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America : Musculoskeletal Injuries in Tennis". Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 17: 609–631. doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2006.05.005. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  14. ^ "Elsevier". Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  15. ^ "Posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow - O'Driscoll et al. 73 (3): 440 - Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery". Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  16. ^ Lehman, RC; Perry, CR (September 2003). "Arthroscopic surgery for partial rotator cuff tears". Arthroscopy. 19 (7): E81–4. doi:10.1016/s0749-8063(03)00692-3. PMID 12966406. 
  17. ^ Randelli, P; Randelli, F (2005). "Diagnosis, classification and treatment of partial-thickness rotator cuff tears". Chir Organi Mov. 90 (2): 83–94. PMID 16422233. 
  18. ^ "Elsevier". Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  21. ^ Janecke, Ron (2002-12-29). "Maurer, Green hope putter puts them in the green". 
  22. ^ Retka, Allison (2006). "Fired CEO blasts putter company owners in lawsuit". Daily Record and the Kansas City Daily News-Press. 
  23. ^ Edwards, Greg (2009-03-29). "Davis, Lehman show interest in small banks". 
  24. ^ Edwards, Greg (2009-07-12). "Freeman, Lehman, Davis join to start homebuilder". 
  25. ^ Kirn, Jacob (24 June 2016). "Lehman, Davis ordered to pay TheEdgeBank $3.2 million". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 25 May 2016. Dr. Richard Lehman, a high-profile orthopedic surgeon who's been a team physician for three National Hockey League teams, including the St. Louis Blues, and Don Davis, a former president of Centrue Bank who is now president of Gateway Buick GMC, were guarantors for the loan, according to court records, and have been ordered to pay TheEdgeBank nearly $3.3 million and $500,000, respectively.