In a typical hip or knee replacement surgery, a surgeon makes a 12-inch incision, cutting muscle, tendon and bone, and dislocating the existing joint. A patient spends three or four days in the hospital, then it’s a month before they can drive and three months before they can go back to work.

But hip and knee replacements with Dr. Richard Berger are anything but typical.

Dr. Berger is a world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and assistant professor of orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center. He’s also a pioneer of minimally invasive joint replacement surgery.

Just a few hours after most of Dr. Berger’s patients emerge from the operating room, they walk 200 feet around the nurse’s station and climb up and down a flight of 15 stairs. They go home that very same day.

There are a lot of functional restrictions that come with a traditional joint replacement surgery, and patients often must deal with a significant amount of pain. What Dr. Berger does is drastically different. With his minimally invasive approach, Dr. Berger makes a small 3- to 4-inch incision, without cutting through muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The result? Patients recover faster. And shorter recovery times enable patients to move their joint as early as possible, before scar tissue builds up.

Dr. Berger used his mechanical engineering background to develop unique surgical tools that enable him to maneuver around a patient’s muscles and tendons to reach the arthritic bone. He carefully removes small pieces of the bone until he has enough space to implant the new prosthesis, which is the same type of prosthetic used in standard total joint replacements.

Instead of being in the hospital for four to five days, our patients are in the hospital for four to five hours.

Instead of being able to drive in two months, they’re able to drive in a week. Instead of being off work for three months, they are off work for a week or less.

Our knee replacement patients have almost no functional restrictions post-surgery, as long as they listen to their body. We tell patients to do pretty much whatever they want on the first day. As for driving, if you feel good after a week, go for it.

Our hip replacement patients have a few more cautions during the recovery period — such as not bending more than 90 degrees — to avoid any risk of dislocation, but most patients are back to doing yoga and other physical activities within three weeks.

After surgery, both knee and hip patients have in-home physical therapy for one week, followed by four to six weeks of outpatient physical therapy. We stress preemptive pain and nausea control, giving patients a detailed medication schedule. Two to three weeks before surgery, patients take a two-hour preoperative education class so they know exactly what to expect.

With Dr. Berger’s minimally invasive approach, patients have less time in the hospital and are able to regain motion much more quickly. It’s what sets us apart, and why so many physicians around the nation send their patients our way.

Real Patient Results
Hip Surgery TestimonialTheresa Romangolo

Hip dysplasia that left her with arthritis. After years of...

Knee Surgery TestimonialSusan Saint James

When I was about 22, I jumped off a fence....

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