Post-Operative Medications

  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone HCL): Long acting pain pill, to be taken every 12 hours after surgery, you will get your specific schedule at the hospital with your discharge instructions, you will be weaned off of this medication in the first 5-7 days after surgery.
  • Norco (Hydrocodone/APAP): Short acting pain pill, to be used as needed for breakthrough pain, you may take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours, the limit is 12 pills in a 24 hour period. You are allowed to use Norco while on Oxycontin.
  • Voltaren (Diclofenac Sodium): Anti-inflammatory, take it twice a day for a total of 3 months after surgery. Make sure you take this medication with food.
  • Protonix (Pantoprazole): Stomach protector. Take 1 tablet daily, in the morning, to protect your stomach. You should continue this medication for 3 months while taking Voltaren.
  • Lyrica (Pregabalin): To prevent nerve pain and tingling sensations; take twice daily for two weeks after surgery.
  • Senokot-S (Senna Plus): Stool softener/laxative for constipation, take 2 tablets twice a day starting 2 days before surgery until you are off your Norco after surgery. If you are traveling from out of town start this once you get to Chicago.
  • Aspirin (EC ASA): 325mg tablet to be taken twice daily for 3 weeks after surgery to thin your blood a little bit to help against blood clots.
  • Scopolamine patch: For nausea; you will receive your first patch at the hospital the morning of your surgery. Change the patch every 3 days. You have 2 replacement patches to be used on post-op day #3 and post-op day #6.
  • Reglan (Metoclopramide): To prevent nausea. You have 30 tablets with an additional refill if nausea persists.
  • Doxycycline/Duricef: Antibiotic to help with the wound healing in the immediate postoperative
  • period; you will take this for a 10 day period.

When you are ready for prescription refills, contact one of the nurses in the office during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 7 am – 5 pm). Refills can be authorized to your local pharmacy. You will need to provide us with your local pharmacy phone number, the name of the medication you need refilled, and your birthdate. Oxycontin cannot be refilled. You will have leftover pills; you can dispose of them once you are finished taking them.

**These medications are for post operative use only!** PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR MEDICATION IN PILL BOXES

Patient Story – Richard Ganz

Richard Ganz is a man on the move. At 61 years old, the Wilmette resident is as active as a person half his age, regularly enjoying activities like running, skiing, swimming, and biking. So when his knee needed to be replaced, he turned to Dr. Richard Berger, an expert in minimally-invasive orthopedic surgery who could get him back on his feet, skis, and bike as fast as possible.

Ganz first noticed the pain in his knee while out for a run in the summer of 2014. His typical run was four to six miles, but he decided to push himself to eight. He was able to successfully meet his goal, but his knee never felt the same.

“I couldn’t walk more than a block without pain prior to surgery,” Ganz says, which significantly limited his ability to engage in all of the physical activities he’d previously loved. The athlete who once skied a black diamond run called “Wounded Knee” (see picture) now couldn’t even take a relaxed summer stroll without his own wounded knee causing him severe discomfort. At the advice of a colleague, Ganz reached out to Dr. Berger.

Doctors in the U.S. perform over 600,000 knee replacement surgeries a year. Most of those surgeries require a hospital stay and an average recovery time of three months to a year. Ganz trusted that with Dr. Berger his experience would be much different. He had two main expectations going into his surgery, he says: that he’d be out of the hospital the same day, and that he’d be able to quickly resume his preferred physical activities. Both expectations were met.

“[I received] very professional care at Rush,” Ganz says. “It was so exciting to be in the hospital by 8:30am and home in bed by 5:00pm.” Dr. Berger’s unique, minimally-invasive approach applies less trauma to the knee than traditional replacement surgery, expediting the healing process. For Ganz this meant limited time on pain medication and a speedy return to his normal, active routine.

Asked how he feels about regaining the quality of life he had prior to his knee pain, Ganz responds, “Fabulous.” He’s aware that his knee isn’t the “original equipment,” but he has resumed the life that makes him happiest. Ganz is back to pain-free walking, skiing, and biking, but says he isn’t quite ready to tie up his running shoes again.

“I could choose to run,” Ganz says, “but I don’t want to risk early problems with my new knee.” For now, he’s okay with being cautious—he knows what it’s like to have to stop doing his favorite activities, and it’s worth it to him to ease back into things slowly. Helping him get back on the running trail will surely be the knowledge that, should he experience pain in his knee again, Dr. Berger is only a short drive away.

Dr. Berger featured in Forbes Custom

Reprinted with permission from

Innovations in Hip Replacement Surgery Get You Back in the Game

Dust Off Your Running Shoes, Yoga Mat—Even Your Hockey Stick

Last year, hip pain forced Rhoda Pitcher to plan each day around her limitations. She couldn’t walk without limping, couldn’t run to catch an important flight and avoided her favorite yoga poses. Hip replacement surgery with Dr. Richard A. Berger changed her life.

Dr. Berger, assistant professor of orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, uses an innovative, minimally invasive approach to hip replacement, which he helped to create, that results in less pain and a more stable joint. Patients who undergo this new anterior hip surgery have an easier short-term recovery and a better long-term prognosis without the usual worry of dislocation. They leave the hospital within a few hours walking on their own, return to work much quicker—most within a week—and can play their favorite sports within weeks with no limitations.

Rhoda Pitcher (Photo courtesy of Christopher Pitcher, CEO, The Sights and Sounds Media House)

“Before my surgery, everything required strategic thinking,” says Pitcher, 61, managing partner of a management consulting company that bears her name. “In February 2015, I was in Hawaii on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and I couldn’t walk more than a block without intense pain. I was taking significant amounts of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain because otherwise I couldn’t function.”

Pitcher suffered from bone-on-bone arthritis, avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply) and hip dysplasia. After 13 years of pain in her left hip, eight years of pain in her right hip and several nonsurgical treatments with little relief, Pitcher was ready for hip replacement surgery.

A Pioneer in Minimally Invasive Procedures

As soon as Pitcher met Dr. Berger, she was impressed by his expertise. She knew it would be worth it to travel from her home in Seattle to his office in Chicago for the procedures.

Dr. Berger is one of only a few surgeons nationwide who performs hip replacement surger y using this new anterior hip approach, called a modified Watson- Jones anterior approach, a technique he helped develop. Dr. Berger, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from MIT, also invented and holds a patent on instruments used in the procedure. Only 2% of hip replacement surgeries are done with this method, which avoids cutting muscles, ligaments or tendons. In the last decade, Dr. Berger has replaced about 5,000 hips using this approach.

“We remove the old hip in little pieces and slip the new hip in, a lso in pieces,” Dr. Berger says. “I assemble the new hip in the patient like a ship in a bottle. When we’re done, no muscles, ligaments or tendons have been cut.”

Read the full article here 


The Laws of Water


Over the last five years fitness has become a huge part of my adult life. I would go workout for an hour four to five times a week with aggressive CrossFit programs to then come home and get back to my regular nightly routine. However, after many dedicated gym sessions over three years into it, I started asking myself: where are the results? I had changed my habits and my lifestyle to consist of what I considered to be a healthy track. Nonetheless, I still lacked proper energy to make it through the day without yawning, and wore the same pant size I had always fit into. After seeking out additional resources, I bit the bullet and met with a nutritional coach. My family members were confused, as they perceived me as the fittest one among them. But when one falls short of self-imposed expectations, she often stops at nothing to achieve that goal.

Even after changing the way I ate—which I already knew would require much effort—there was still one nutritional aspect I failed at daily. I did not consume nearly enough water for my small 5’3” frame. I continually left myself improperly nourished of the most vital nutrient of all. With the human body ranging from 55% to 70% water, the brain being composed of about 85% water, and 90% of our blood plasma containing water, the magical molecule H2O plays a huge role in our overall function.

Water is critical to most every function in living organisms. Among other processes, water maintains body temperature, metabolizes body fat, aids in digestion, cushions organs, lubricates regions like the throat, transports nutrients to the cells, and flushes toxins out of organs. Day after day, Dr. Berger treats a range of patients coming in due to hip pain, knee pain, or often both. In a world where patients are characterized by different shapes, sizes, and deterioration within the joint, one truth remains consistent in post-surgical care: hydration is crucial to a shorter, more complete recovery. Place an unnatural occurrence, such as joint surgery, on the body and the task of consuming enough water becomes even more imperative.

When a patient has surgery with Dr. Berger, prescribed medications and rest are required to aid in the recovery of implanting a new joint. Medications such as Oxycontin may be prescribed for post-operative care and require a patient to consume more water. The amount of water recommended varies per person, but is often more than suspected. On average, a human’s water intake should be between seven to nine cups a day. Another way to ensure proper hydration is for each person to drink her own body weight in ounces each day. While that may seem excessive, remember all the critical roles water plays. Whether trekking through a mountain, sitting at an office desk, or going through a surgical procedure, hydration is key to success.

Patient Testimony: Richard LeBlanc

20160803090635353-2The average amount of money spent on a wedding in the United States every year is $26,444. Of the 2.3 million couples who get hitched each year, more than half of those include the traditional father/daughter dance. One million hip and knee joint replacements happen each year. What do these large numbers have in common?

Let us introduce you to a remarkable patient Richard LeBlanc, with an even more remarkable story. Mr. LeBlanc, a land developer in Dallas, Texas, bemoaned, “The pain I suffered made it  difficult to do my work. Our land development sites are topographically challenging.” Due to all the time Mr. LeBlanc spent on his feet, his job had become increasingly more difficult to perform.  As millions of people plagued with arthritis can empathize.

Mr. LeBlanc’s story starts similar to most patients: his arthritic pain worsened to the point that he had not realized how much time he had spent changing his daily routine to accommodate his failing joint. He specifically recalls a trip that he and his wife had the pleasure of taking to Turkey: “We followed a portion of the missionary journey that the Apostle Paul had traveled through Ephesus and Smyrna.  I had not anticipated the unevenness of the ground. Unfortunately, after all the planning that had gone into the trip, I was unable to complete some of the journey due to my knee. I knew that something had to be done.”

The trip Mr. LeBlanc would later start was one of many that influenced him to follow through with his decision for replacement with Dr. Richard Berger. In addition to his missionary journey to Turkey, the upcoming nuptials of his daughter, Eryn, weighed heavy on Mr. LeBlanc’s heart and mind. Of course, he not only wanted to witness the marriage, but also be able to participate in all the important traditions that came along with blessing his daughter’s hand in marriage. “I didn’t care if the surgery was before or after the wedding in the beginning,” Mr. LeBlanc remembers, “Dr. Berger was amazing and was able to perform surgery to fix my knee before the wedding. Not only was I able to walk Eryn down the aisle and dance with her on her special day pain free, but the bigger surprise was that I was able to participate in all of the dancing and festivities of that special night.”


On October 29, 2015 Mr. LeBlanc underwent a partial left knee replacement. He chose to stay in the hospital for one day to make the process easier on his wife. The day after his surgery, Mr. LeBlanc passed all the preliminary tests—including walking two laps around the hospital floor and doing a flight of stairs—to be released, and spent the next 24 hours relaxing in his hotel room. Once he landed back home in Dallas, Mr. LeBlanc did not look back: “Since being back in Dallas I have forgotten I even had a partial knee replacement. I am most appreciative of the care I received from both Dr. Berger and his incredible staff along the way, making the whole experience seamless. My life has changed ever since surgery. I am back to doing everything that I could do before pain and everything I wanted to do during the pain but could not. My life has been normalized.

Feeling Like an Olympian

The highly anticipated, action-packed Olympic games are here once again. For some of us we cannot wait to end our work day to get home and tune into the live events happening in Rio de Janeiro. I remember as a child, watching the women’s gymnastics, my eyes glued to the television, only peeling myself away long enough to say grace and shovel in my dinner before propping myself in front of the screen again. After the events were over, my sisters and I would head out to our front yard to set up our own four-event gymnastics station and embark on a sisterly competition to become the next Kerri Strug.

Fast forward 20 years and as an adult I find myself once again awaiting the nightly broadcast of Olympic events. Cheering proudly for Team USA and sitting on the edge of my seat at every twist, turn, and final 50 meters of an athlete’s swim. As an adult, however, the time spent watching the Olympics is different. Now, I am not thinking I will be the next Olympian competing for gold, but instead I am admiring the athletes for their agility, their unparalleled dedication, and the strength of their bodies. Six days a week an athlete such as Michael Phelps trains to become and remain the most decorated athlete of all time, beating out the previous record holder, who dates back to B.C. era.

I find myself relating this high caliber training to what I am seeing and hearing during a work day at Dr. Berger’s office. Every day, my routine consists of waking up, hitting snooze once, enjoying a healthy breakfast (more on that in a later blog post), speaking with local and international patients who deal with nearly paralyzing pain, ending my day with my own workout, and finally, winding down by witnessing herculean athletes compete at an elite level. Just hours apart, I hear about mobility at its worst, and see mobility at its best.

Every day I wake up, stretch my legs and arms, extend them over the edge of the bed to stand without even realizing that this task sometime seems impossible for the millions of people affected by arthritis. While they do not face the impossible task of beating a world record or competing in an event on the world’s stage, they strive to do what I do every day—get out of bed pain-free. Hip and knee replacement becomes the reality for over one million patients a year and this number is trending up.  

The highlights of working for Dr. Richard Berger are not only getting to help these individuals plagued by arthritis, but also witnessing the many milestones our patients hit after surgery.  Some compete in medal-winning activities like the Olympians, some are ecstatic to rejoin a YMCA fitness group and make it through an entire class, and others are able to see their dog’s wagging tail at the door and know that taking their beloved pet for a walk without pain is finally possible.

We have started a new trend in Dr. Berger’s office about capturing more stories from our patients on their journey with Dr. Berger and his dedicated team and I couldn’t be more thrilled about this. Although I find professional athletes exhilarating to watch, it is our patients every day that continue to inspire me to take control of my daily actions and make the most of each day. After surgery with Dr. Berger, many patients are overwhelmed with joy on regaining their quality of life. Just like an Olympian standing on the podium feeling deservedly proud, I feel proud to work for a practice that allows people to regain the quality of their lives. In the words of our patient Susan Lloyd, “I felt like my old self (before the pain started) just 22 days after surgery. Normal tasks that I couldn’t do before, like sitting on the ground with my students, were not an issue anymore.”

We want to hear your story.  Please contact Courtney Kelly at to let others know how to regain quality of your life.

Patient Testimony: Donna Amari

Testimony of Donna Amari: Bilateral Hip & Bilateral Knee Replacement Patient

DonnaAmari France

“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.

DonnaAmari Tuscany                  DonnaAmari Tuscany2

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

DonnaAmari grandkids

Patient Feature: Patrick Sullivan

By Kelsey Thompson, Patient Liaison

Whether you are from the Chicago area or not, you are probably familiar with our city’s famous St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Early Irish immigrants flocked to Chicago in the 1800s, such that by 1850 one-fifth of the city’s population was Irish. Needless to say, the well-populated Irish-American community has maintained a strong presence in Chicago through the years. Today, tourists come from across the country to partake in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and watch the river dyed green.


However, these festivities would not be possible if it were not for Dr. Berger’s handiwork. (Well, at least Dr. Berger’s staff would like to think so.) One of Dr. Berger’s early patients, Patrick Sullivan (have you heard a more Irish name?), had a hip replacement in 2002. Sullivan, a member of the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, also leads the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Since his surgery, he has led the parade 14 years in a row—every year since receiving his new hip.



“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.


Nutrition Following Joint Replacement

By Kelsey Thompson, Patient Liaison

“Is there anything special I should eat after my joint replacement?”

“Donuts, cookies, chips, and cake!” I’m sure this is what many patients would like our response to be (at least that is what I would like to hear!). Unfortunately, junk food is not the recommended postoperative diet, as many may suspect. While Dr. Berger does not have patients on a strict postoperative diet, there are facets of a postoperative diet that are encouraged and ideal.



Immediately following surgery, the patient’s body contains anesthesia and medications. These drugs tend to dehydrate the patient, which is why pushing fluids is vital following joint replacement. The more water a patient drinks, the sooner the anesthesia will be flushed out. Hydration also helps decrease constipation, a common side effect of anesthesia and some pain medications.



While hydrating, patients should keep in mind the importance of electrolytes. Drinking too much water without electrolytes can throw off the balance of electrolytes in the body. Any fluid shifts caused by anesthesia during surgery would benefit from electrolyte intake post-operatively. Pedialyte serves as an appropriate source of hydration that does not contain as many added sugars as Gatorade (but this too works as a source of electrolytes).


Chewing Gum

While hydrating with electrolytes may be common sense, chewing gum may seem a bit odd. However, studies have shown that chewing gum after surgery can increase gastrointestinal motility. Aiding in digestion, gum-chewing can help prevent constipation, a common effect of anesthesia and postoperative narcotics.


Avoid Alcohol

Not only does alcohol dehydrate the body (counteracting the benefits of hydrating with water and electrolytes), but drinking alcohol also negatively interacts with postoperative narcotics. Once the patient is done taking the postoperative narcotics, the patient can resume alcohol consumption, but as always, in moderation is best.


Iron-rich Foods

Although there is not much blood loss in Dr. Berger’s minimally invasive surgery, iron-rich foods can help patients build up their blood stores. Foods high in iron include red meats, leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and kale), beans, and dried fruit.


Anti-inflammatory Diet

Due to the swelling and bruising that are inevitable after surgery, any tool that can be used to reduce or prevent inflammation is beneficial. Foods high in antioxidants (typically dark red in color) such as pomegranates, red cherries, and beets help prevent inflammation and aid in recovery. Eating a typical “Mediterranean diet” consisting of fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and olive oil is a perfect anti-inflammatory diet that will aid in recovery. Foods high in processed sugar are best to limit both before and after surgery because sugar increases inflammation.


Eating When Taking Medications

This is probably the most important of all the nutritional guidelines. Food protects the stomach from the medications that are taken after surgery, and typically helps prevent nausea. Even when taking one pill, taking it with a granola bar or something of the like is useful for avoiding an upset stomach. When ingesting many medications at once, a small “meal” such as yogurt or a smoothie is not sufficient; solid food is usually best.


What “Sits Well” With You

Overall, it is necessary to eat what sits the best with the patient personally. Especially for patients who struggle with nausea, it is important to eat something, and often that might not include any of the aforementioned suggestions. Saltines, crackers, fruit juice, ginger ale, and toast are simple foods and drinks that are easy for the body to break down and usually help soothe the stomach. On the contrary, dairy and highly acidic foods are not recommended to take with medications and should be avoided if keeping food down is difficult. If nothing else sounds appetizing, try one of the above suggestions, or what sounds most appealing.  


In general, postoperative patients are not on a strict postoperative diet or food regimen; rather a consistent, healthy lifestyle is strongly recommended. Donuts, cookies, cake, chips, and the like are fine when eaten sparingly, as treats to an otherwise balanced, nutritious diet. Eating healthy foods and maintaining quality nutrition not only help patients recover from surgery more quickly, but they also may potentially extend the life of the joint replacement by maintaining a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). Ultimately, our goal for our patients is to return to the daily activities they enjoy, which is enhanced through an overall healthy lifestyle – not a “quick-fix” diet.

To learn more about maintaining a healthy diet as part of a lifestyle rather than fad diets, look for future posts from our engaging nutritionists and testimonies from their clients. Whether joint replacement is in your past or future, or you are simply looking for more detailed nutrition education, these posts will enhance your knowledge about health.

How Do I Know I Need a Knee or Hip Replacement?

By Kelsey Thompson, Patient Liaison

Dr. Berger’s New Patient Liaison gets around 100 calls per day. These potential patients, calling with complaints of horrific knee or hip pain, range vastly in age and personal history. While many patients already have been explicitly told by an orthopedic doctor that they need a knee or hip replacement, for others, the path ahead may seem unclear. What exactly qualifies one for a joint replacement? Below, common orthopedic terminology is deciphered and explained:


Mayo Clinic’s website provides this definition of osteoarthritis: “Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that permits nearly frictionless joint motion. In osteoarthritis, the slick surface of the cartilage becomes rough. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, you may be left with bone rubbing on bone.” If you have osteoarthritis in your hip or knee joints, you are (or someday will be) in need of a replacement.

“Bone on Bone” 

As the cartilage in the hip or knee joint deteriorates, you are left with bone rubbing on bone, as the Mayo Clinic’s definition states above. The cartilage between the bones in your hip or knee protects the ends of the bones. When that has worn down you are left with “bone on bone,” formally known as osteoarthritis. Maybe you have not been specifically told you need a joint replacement, but you have had X-Rays taken and were told you are “bone on bone.” This is indeed osteoarthritis and will require a joint replacement.

Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis

Maybe your older sister was told she had osteoarthritis in her knees, but an orthopedic surgeon looked at your knee X-Rays and stated you have arthritis in your knee. Do you have the same medical problem? Most likely, yes. There are two kinds of arthritis: osteoarthritis, which is mentioned above, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that results in inflammation. Mayo Clinic further differentiates rheumatoid arthritis: “Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.” All of Dr. Berger’s patients suffer from osteoarthritis, which merits the need for a knee or hip replacement. Only a handful of our patients also have rheumatoid arthritis, in addition to osteoarthritis. Often “osteoarthritis” is shortened to “arthritis,” as osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

Regardless of the phrasing, when the cartilage in the knee or hip joint wears away it can be extremely painful. Daily activities, even simply standing, can become excruciating. Irreversible degeneration of the joint has begun, and the only remedy at this point is joint replacement. When you decide to undergo joint replacement and take your life back, is up to you.

If you have been told you are “bone on bone,” or you have arthritis or osteoarthritis in your hips or knees, and you would like to learn more about Dr. Berger’s outpatient joint replacement procedure, call our office at 312-432-2557.

Outpatient Hip and Knee Replacement • • 1611 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612 • 312-432-2557