“Had surgery Feb. 2, 2017. 18 holes of gold a couple weeks after knee replacement surgery! Thanks Dr. Berger! Shot an 83 too!”
Surgical Date September 2015 took this video three months after surgery.
“If you were to tell me back in June of 2014 that I would have had both hips and knees replaced in an 18 month period, I would have told you that you had me confused with another one of Dr. Berger’s patients.”
“If you were to tell me back in June of 2014 that I would have had both hips and knees replaced in an 18 month period, I would have told you that you had me confused with another one of Dr. Berger’s patients. In June 2014 I had my first visit with Dr. Berger, I was 67-years-old and never had any surgeries up until that point. It was at that initial visit that Dr. Berger told me that both hips were shot, which did not come as any surprise to me. The orthopedic doctors that I had been seeing at Northwestern already had told me that, and they encouraged me to use someone in their system. I told them, “No thank you! If I’m having joint replacement surgery I’m going to see Dr. Berger at Rush.”
When it came to picking surgical dates for the hips, I had decided on August 2014 for the first hip and September 2014 for the second hip. But, I had a dilemma. My difficulty was that I had a trip planned that July to Paris, and I was debating, Am I going to cancel this trip because I can barely walk, or am I going to go ahead and go? Well, I did go, and I spent most of that trip in a wheelchair because I could not walk comfortably, and I was also having some discomfort in my knees. Anyway, I had both hips done, one in August, one in September of 2014, but before I did that I asked Dr. Berger an important question: “I have a trip planned to go to Tuscany in October. If I have this second surgery in September, am I going to be okay for this trip to Tuscany in October?” Dr. Berger told me, “You are going to be fine.” I always trusted him; he knew better than anybody. I went on that Tuscany trip, I had no pain, I was able to walk hills; It was amazing to me.
So, when I realized the knees also were not good, I booked a surgical appointment with Dr. Berger in August of 2015 to have the first knee done, and I just had the second knee done in February. I can tell you honestly, I have no discomfort, I am so mobile. There was never a time when I was worried about or scared about any of these surgeries. Dr. Berger is very reassuring, and his staff is always available to answer questions. The materials they sent home with me were so helpful. The two hour seminar I attended was all-inclusive. Everyone I dealt with in Dr. Berger’s office was always there to help. I was fortunate enough that I did not need the pain medications; Tylenol was fine with me. I’m not a martyr, but I did not have any significant pain after the surgeries. I cannot say enough about Dr. Berger and his team!
There are people in my age range that have watched me over the past 18 months and are beginning to experience either hip or knee problems. I do not go around and brag, but everyone who has seen me come through all these surgeries, and how mobile I am now, that speaks volumes. So far I’ve known two people that have booked surgery with Dr. Berger since my surgery. I cannot say enough about Dr. Berger; he changed my whole life! I thank him, my family thanks him, and especially my grandchildren—I can finally keep up with them. I couldn’t have gone through these surgeries without the support of my family, especially my daughter, Laura. She was my “go-to” person and I am grateful for her. When I talk about all this I do get a little emotional because honestly, I cannot believe what I have accomplished in 18 months. It is remarkable to me. We are so grateful to Dr. Berger.” – Donna
“That parade does not start until I stomp my foot,”
“That parade does not start until I stomp my foot,” Sullivan touted as he lifted up his knee, forming a sharp 90-degree angle, his foot hovering nine inches above the ground. Excitedly, he continued, “I could not do this—I could not lift up my foot—without my new hip. The parade would not start without my hip replacement!”
Sullivan has continued to parade around with his prosthetic hip, even beyond St. Patrick’s Day. He will be participating in an upcoming competition on May 26, 2016 at the House of Blues, called Dancing with the Brokers. À la “Dancing with the Stars,” each couple consists of one professional dancer paired with one real estate or construction professional. Despite his impressive dancing skills (as seen in the video below), Sullivan is not actually the dancing pro! The participants train for months to prepare for the main event, which benefits children at Inner City Impact (you can contribute too!). So for any naysayers who doubt the functionality of a hip or knee prosthesis after surgery, attend the Dancing with the Brokers competition and watch Pat Sullivan twirl, prance, and dance around like a professional—prosthetic hip and all.
Sullivan is the Vice President of a major mechanical contractor in Chicago, The Hill Group. Part of his job entails walking construction sites, which he could not do without his new hip. “I could not walk half a block without it hurting,” Sullivan recalls of his hip prior to his replacement with Dr. Berger. Sullivan went on to share, “My new ‘Berger Hip’ has changed my life so dramatically; I can work, golf, dance, march and play with my grandchildren. I am considering having my other hip replaced to keep up with the replaced hip! Hip replacements are a piece of cake for Dr. Berger and his team.”
If you cannot watch Sullivan’s performance in Dancing with the Brokers, but wish to witness Dr. Berger’s handiwork in action, attend next year’s spectacular St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Chicago. At the start of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, take a closer look at the Irishman leading the charge, sporting a bagpipe and matching garb, and hone in on that right hip as he lifts up his foot. There you will spy Dr. Berger’s work, still holding strong 14 years later, despite all the dancing and stomping Sullivan has put it through. While Dr. Berger’s minimally invasive, muscle-sparing replacements are anything but traditional, his innovations have helped maintain Chicago’s long-standing tradition.
Double Knee Replacements Give Pizzeria Owner and Runner a Second Chance
Double Knee Replacements Give Pizzeria Owner and Runner a Second Chance
Rich Matokar, a 70 year-old resident of Highland, Indiana, has been active all his life. Today, he considers competitive running and pizza two of his greatest passions.
Matokar has competed in a total of 14 marathons, including events in New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago. And, six days a week he runs his own Arrenello’s pizzerias in Northwest Indiana and Illinois. That’s a lot of running.
Over time, as Matokar ran and worked, he slowly developed knee pain that eventually made it impossible for him to walk or sleep without pain. In 1991, he was advised by his doctor to stop running because he would just do more damage to both knees. Matokar was devastated. But, even though he modified his activities, he did not stop running entirely.
Over the years, different doctors told him that he needed a knee replacement, but Matokar was waiting to feel confident that the most updated techniques were available to him. Then, one day in 2014, he was discussing his joint problems and possible replacement with a friend at the local gym. His friend recommended that he see Dr. Richard Berger, a Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) hip and knee specialist who is known for his innovative minimally invasive techniques and excellent patient outcomes.
Matokar went home, researched Dr. Berger and promptly made an appointment. After discussing various surgical options, Dr. Berger and Matokar decided that it would be best if he underwent a full knee replacement because of the condition of his knee.
By this time, Matokar was ready and had full faith in Dr. Berger and his staff. So, he underwent the procedure in 2014. The surgery went extremely well and his recovery and physical therapy went according to schedule. Matokar said that he “felt like the only man in the room” during his surgery and office appointments.
But, he felt a little uneven. His new knee was working great, but the other knee was “just okay.” So, during a check-up after the first knee replacement, Matokar and Dr. Berger discussed a second knee replacement. He had the surgery and this one was also a complete success.
Now, just two months after his second knee replacement, Matokar is back at work full time. With Dr. Berger’s approval, his goal is to run again when he completes physical therapy. He is grateful for a second chance to continue his active life and fully manage his business. In fact, he has been known to show his gratitude by personally delivering pizzas to Dr. Berger’s staff… an unexpected but delicious surprise..
“I went into surgery on the morning of June 18, 2010, and went home that afternoon.”
Harold Baines rejoined the Chicago White Sox organization in 2004 as a coach under the leadership of new White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen. Baines had originally joined the White Sox team in 1977 and became a regular outfielder in 1980. However, in 1986 a string of knee problems brought an end to his fielding career and he transitioned to a designated hitting position. In spite of his continued knee pain, he went on to complete a successful designated hitting career, retiring in 2001. He played 22 seasons in the major leagues, batting .289 with 384 home runs and 1,628 RBI in 2,830 games. At the young age of 51, he found that the knee pain had become intolerable. Baines went from a high performance professional athlete to finding it difficult to walk down the first base line. After much research for a qualified physician, Baines scheduled an appointment with Dr. Richard Berger. Baines went into surgery on the morning of June 18, 2010, and went home that afternoon. “It was gratifying to help Harold, who has brought such joy to millions but then was suffering with pain just walking,” said Dr. Berger. Following his surgery, Baines completed rehab with White Sox head team trainer Herm Schneider. His expectations were high, but he met his postoperative goal by getting back on the field in February 2011 for White Sox spring training. “Harold recovered so quickly partially due to his excellent conditioning and partially due to the new kind of knee replacement that is performed without cutting any muscles or tendons,” explained Dr. Berger. The White Sox returned to Chicago for their home opener on April 7, where Sox fans were happy to see Coach Harold Baines back at first base.
“I found that by reading the book provided by Dr. Berger’s staff, following the pain medication table and exercising, the recovery progressed quickly”
I am the Chief of Police for the Village of South Chicago Heights am 60 years old. I had left knee pain for at least five years but was always under the impression that knee replacement should not be done before the age of 60. I was also concerned about being away from work long enough to recover from the surgery. While recovering from the arthroscopic surgery, I spoke with a friend who was scheduled to have a total knee replacement with Dr. Berger. I watched his recovery and compared his progress with mine. I was impressed. It took just over a year before I worked up the will to make an appointment with Dr. Berger. Once I had an evaluation appointment I was surprised to find out that other friends and their family members had been treated by Dr. Berger for knees and hips. I read the pre-op book and did the exercises as much as I could. I watched every video on the web site and I was ready. The pre-op day was run well. The medication distribution, physical and blood donation for self-use were well organized and moved along efficiently and methodically. I was impressed. From the time I arrived at the hospital the morning of the surgery through my release later that afternoon, I was treated extremely well. The process moved along like clockwork. After surgery, I stood up alongside the bed. Once I was stable, I walked up and down the hallway and up and down 12 stairs. The personal attention and care exceeded my expectations. Dr. Berger and his staff provided close personal attention right up to the moment I was released to go home. The day after surgery, a homecare nurse and physical therapist came to my home. I started the therapy that day. Both were professional and treated me very well. I immediately made progress, walked without a cane and walked up and down the 14 stairs in my home foot over foot by the third day after surgery. By the end of Week One, I started to feel pretty close to normal. On Day 6 after surgery, a fellow worker came by and picked me up and brought me to my weekly staff meeting. I spent time in my office and left for home after about four hours. On Friday, Day 8 after surgery, I drove to work, spent 6 hours in and out of my office and drove home. After the weekend, I started outpatient physical therapy three days that week and went to work each day as well. When my knee swelled, I used ice-packs and rested. In summary, I found that by reading the book provided by Dr. Berger’s staff, following the pain medication table and exercising, the recovery progressed quickly. There were days that had some discomfort, but I believe that the pain level never exceeded 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. I attended my fourth outpatient physical therapy yesterday and had a range of motion measurement of 120 degrees. On Saturday, Day 17 after surgery, I attended a police training session. My biggest regret is that I waited almost five years, in pain to have the surgery.
“After having both hips replaced by Dr. Berger less than a year ago, I have been fortunate to return to an active lifestyle completely pain free.”
After having both hips replaced by Dr. Berger less than a year ago, I have been fortunate to return to an active lifestyle completely pain free. I have been an avid bicycle rider and water skier all of my adult life, except for the last few years when hip arthritis pain caused me to stop doing the activities that I enjoyed. Since receiving my new hips I have been able to return to an active lifestyle and am sleeping much better also.
Mark McNulty successfully returned to professional golf shortly after his knee replacement. Within a year, he had several top 10 finishes in the PGA Championship Tour.
Professional golfer Mark McNulty tried to play through the pain of arthritis in his right knee for years. Temporary remedies had kept him in the game, but not pain-free. However, the pain progressed to the point that he was simply unable to continue playing golf. He knew his only chance to continue his professional golf career was to undergo a total knee replacement. He was concerned about the down time and ultimate function of a traditional knee replacement. Ultimately, he elected to give himself one more chance at golf and have a minimally invasive total knee replacement by Dr. Richard Berger at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Berger was recommended to McNulty by a previous patient and friend of the golfer’s. McNulty, who lived in Florida and South Africa, decided to make the journey to Chicago to see Dr. Berger. “I felt quite comfortable with him,” McNulty said about how he felt immediately after meeting Dr. Berger. He was excited to hear how the doctor’s minimally invasive surgical techniques spare the soft tissue and muscle around the knee, which he learned would have him back on his feet quickly and enable him to return to golf. The surgery was performed in spring 2010. He arrived at Rush University Medical Center early in the morning and underwent the surgery. A few hours later, he successfully completed his first round of physical therapy and was discharged from the hospital. He was back at his hotel later that evening. Physical therapy continued to go well for McNulty. “I was surprised and thrilled with how quickly my knee progressed,” he said. “I was driving the ball just four weeks after surgery. And I did so without any pain.” This was the first time in years he could have said that. McNulty successfully returned to professional golf shortly after his knee replacement. Within a year, he had several top 10 finishes in the PGA Championship Tour. In fact, he was playing so well, he placed first in one PGA Tournament. McNulty said that he is delighted to be able to play and walk the course without any pain, but enjoying such a successful return has been the “icing on top of the cake with a cherry on top of that.”
Ten weeks after surgery, Bill competed in the Chicago Triathlon and placed first in his age division.
an avid triathlete, came to Dr. Berger in January of 2009 with the complaint of pain in his right knee. Although Bill did not let the pain interfere with his training, he said he felt it constantly and he was ready to do something about it. When Dr. Berger informed Bill that he had arthritis in his right knee, Bill opted to have total knee arthroplasty—or, a total knee replacement—to alleviate the constant pain from arthritis. Two months after his initial consult, Bill came in for knee replacement surgery with Dr. Berger. The surgery enabled Bill to return to his rigorous training regimen and competition schedule. Ten weeks after surgery, Bill competed in the Chicago Triathlon and placed 1st in his age division. He went on to compete in several triathlons around the country and is still going strong; most recently, he competed in a half Ironman Triathlon and again, won his age division.
Linda is a scratch golfer who suffered from chronic knee pain for over three decades. She first injured her knee in her 20s and spent the next 30 years crossing physical activities off her list because the pain became unbearable. Linda continued playing golf, but not without pain. In January 2006, Linda came in for her initial consultation with Dr. Berger. Four months later she had a total knee replacement on her right knee. Two and a half weeks after surgery, Linda was out on the golf course driving the ball. When asked how she felt, she replied, “It’s the first time in over 25 years that I’ve not had pain in my knee when hitting a golf ball. It feels fantastic.”
“I cannot put into words how nice Dr. Berger and his entire staff were. The personal attention I got from his entire staff was amazing. Follow-up to surgery was magnificent. After two surgeries five weeks apart, I am still amazed at how quickly I have recovered. I have no pain in my hips or lower back! Hopefully it won’t be long until I’m back to doing triathlons again.”
I have struggled with arthritis pain in my hips for several years, along with lower back pain. I put off the thought of surgery for years and tried steroid injections. It wasn’t until the last steroid injection didn’t work that I began looking at options for surgery. I checked locally with a few physicians and they all told me my hospital stay would be days and recovery would be even longer. An acquaintance who had his hip replaced told me about Dr. Berger in Chicago and his own wonderful experience. After a trip to Chicago and meeting Dr. Berger I was convinced this was the place for me! I cannot put into words how nice Dr. Berger and his entire staff were. Dr. Berger took the time to sit down with me and give me options for what needed to be done. Instead of just one hip replacement, he told me I needed two. I knew he was busy and backlogged for surgeries for months, but he opened up his calendar and asked, “So what dates work best for you?” The personal attention I got from his entire staff was amazing. They made me feel like I was the most important person at the moment. Follow-up to surgery was magnificent. They not only give you a calendar of medications to take each day for a month, but they gave me Dr. Berger’s phone number and each of his nurse’s cell phone numbers in case I needed them. The other team members who work with his staff, from the physical therapist to the anesthesiologist, along with the hotel accommodation discounts made this all worthwhile. Finally, to indicate how “over the top” Dr. Berger is, I received a personal Christmas card from him showing his lovely family. I don’t even get one of those from my personal doc’s! After two surgeries five weeks apart, I am still amazed at how quickly I have recovered. I have no pain in my hips or lower back! Hopefully it won’t be long until I’m back to doing triathlons again.
“Overall, the whole experience was amazing, from the quality of the service and information provided by the staff, to the ease of getting back to day-to-day activities. This was so easy, I really feel sort of foolish for not getting it done sooner.”
After I woke up from hip surgery I felt great and was able to walk in the hallway and climb the steps without any issues. The physical therapist actually complained that I was walking too fast, which I thought was a good sign. After 10 days, I went back to work. Most of the people I work with didn’t even realize I had surgery because I was walking so well. I honestly felt like I could have gone back to work on Day 4. I did physical therapy exercises and added in a short light load ride on my bicycle trainer each day. I started at 20 minutes on the bicycle and added about 10 minutes a day, until I was up to about 90 minutes of easy spinning. After my three week follow-up with Dr. Berger and with his OK, I increased the intensity of my bicycle workouts and went back to the gym and started squatting again, but keeping it light and progressively increasing. The funny thing is I haven’t actually had any hip-specific pain, but for me the best part is my back hasn’t hurt since the day of the surgery, and it had gotten really bad, so this was a real quality-of-life improvement for me. Overall, the whole experience was amazing, from the quality of the service and information provided by the staff, to the ease of getting back to day-to-day activities. This was so easy, I really feel sort of foolish for not getting it done sooner. I’m really grateful for the stellar work Dr. Berger did and the incredible support I got from the entire staff every step of the way.
“After the surgery I walked out several hours later. I did the prescribed rehab, strengthened the muscles that had atrophied in my legs, and started working out again…”
I have been a recreational basketball player most of my life, starting at age 10. When I was 45 years old, I started noticing pain in the area of my right hip. My family doctor correctly diagnosed the problem as arthritis in the hip and conveyed the message that it was pain that I would have to live with. I continued to play basketball, and the pain gradually got worse. By the time I was 55 I was taking four Aleves per day just to get through my daily routine. When I reached age 57, I could no longer move without a great deal of pain. Playing basketball meant limping up and down the court and being able to do not much more than pass the ball. Walking up stairs was accomplished by pulling myself up using the railing. At that point I heard about Dr. Berger and the wonderful work that was being done at Rush. He said I was a good candidate for a total hip replacement. I walked out several hours after the surgery. I did the prescribed rehab, strengthened the muscles that had atrophied in my legs and started working out again. Less than half a year later, I was back playing basketball at a competitive level that I had not experienced in 15 years. I am now 59 years old, still play basketball three times per week, and my new hip feels great. I take no pain medication of any type, and am so thankful that I can walk, run and jump again. Dr. Berger and his outstanding staff made it all possible.
“Dr. Berger performed knee replacement on January 15, 2014. Eight weeks later I hiked the 8 ½ mile Potawatomie Trail at Indiana Dunes State Park.”
John was very active leading high adventure trips with Boy Scout Troop 19. He estimates he averages 150 miles a year hiking, backpacking, and canoeing, including intensive backpacks at Philmont Scout Ranch in the New Mexico Rockies. Knee pain and surgeries were leading him to think about “slowing down”. Dr. Berger performed knee replacement on January 15, 2014. Eight weeks later he hiked the 8 ½ mile Potawatomie Trail at Indiana Dunes State Park. June was kayaking and rafting on the New River in West Virginia. Completing the 2014 summer season was a backpack at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in August with no adverse effects.
“At 48 years old and being an active person I was hesitant to consider having a knee replacement. When I heard about the minimally invasive technique performed by Dr. Berger and all the success stories, I decided to go for it!”
At 48 years old and being an active person I was hesitant to consider having a knee replacement. I was worried that I was too young and that I would wear out my replacement much too soon. I was also worried about the lengthy rehab and down time. When I heard about the minimally invasive technique performed by Dr. Berger and all the success stories, I decided to go for it! Dr. Berger and his incredible staff were first class all the way! The staff made sure that I was completely prepared and educated for the entire process. Before, during and after surgery. I am currently at 6 weeks post op and am back in the saddle again, literally!