Richard A. Berger, MD, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University Medical School, is a trailblazer in orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Berger applied his engineering background to create a revolutionary surgical approach for outpatient knee and hip replacements. With the generosity of grateful patient donors, Dr. Berger continues to enhance these life-changing solutions.
Motivated by a belief that pain shouldn't have to be a way of life, Dr. Berger created his surgical instruments and techniques to improve recovery and patient outcomes. By continuing to refine his procedures throughout his career, he has changed the course of orthopedic surgery. With continued support, Dr. Berger and his research team are achieving new levels to orthopedic prosthetics allowing less invasive and longer lasting joint replacements for patients'.
Engineering a better approach to joint replacement surgery
For decades, joint replacement surgery carried a high risk of complications, lengthy hospital stays, and extended recovery times. In 1999,leveraging private philanthropy, Dr. Berger developed a less invasive procedure that uses smaller incisions and eliminates cuts to muscle, soft tissue, ligaments, and tendons. His tremendous efforts have reduced risks and dramatically shortened recovery time.
"My husband and I are walking billboards for Dr. Berger. Actually, we are a skiing and tennis-playing billboard for him. We constantly tell people to see Dr. Berger,” says Holly Dreman, who had hip replacement surgery, and whose husband, David had both knees and a hip replacement with Dr. Berger. “We've heard from too many friends that their joint replacements haven't been as successful, and that's just not right. Dr. Berger's work is proven, and we've made our gift so it can go even further."
Developing Longer-Lasting Implants
Dr. Berger and his colleagues envision a future where no joint replacement requires revision. Researchers in the Robbins-Jacobs Biomaterials Implant Pathology Laboratory study failed implants, which come to Rush from surgeons all over the world. These retrieved used implants, donated by grateful RUSH patients, help researchers learn how implants perform over time. This critical information assists in designing materials that last a lifetime.
Preventing Osteoarthritis and Joint Degradation
Researchers at Rush aim to prevent the degradation of cartilage and joint implants. Helping to illuminate how implant materials can be improved, the researchers in the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Tribology Laboratory study the effects of friction, lubrication, and wear of natural and artificial joints. Similarly, investigators in the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Motion Analysis Laboratory use 3-D imaging to study the effect motion, force, and muscle activity have on the body before and after joint replacement.