Vija Navarro, 65, is singing the praises of her doctor and his team. Vija has a new right hip and knee thanks to IBJI and her surgeon, Peter Thadani, MD. The connection came through the pastor at her Libertyville church. When pain in her right hip began keeping her awake at night, Vija started asking around for referrals. The surgeon who replaced her other hip in 2009 had retired. Vija recalls, “My pastor said, ‘don’t do anything until I tell you about Dr. Thadani at IBJI. He did my mom’s hip and my hip, and we had wonderful results.”

The conversation with Pastor Amy was an answer to her prayers. Dr. Thadani had performed what’s called an anterior hip replacement for Vija’s minister and her mom, different from the posterior and lateral hip replacements that are more common.

Says Dr. Thadani, “With the anterior approach, the incision is made in front of the hip instead of the side or back. There is no cutting of muscle, so healing is easier and faster. Six months down the road, there is really no difference in outcomes, but two months after, yes, there is.” Anterior hip replacement, he says, minimizes the two biggest complications associated with traditional surgery - dislocation and over-lengthening the leg. “The risk of dislocation is reduced,” he says, “because no stabilizing muscles are cut. And because patients are on their back for the surgery, I can use X-rays during the procedure to compare one side to the other and avoid over-lengthening.”

Dr. Thadani performed Vija’s surgery in January 2013 at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. “He saw me every morning in the hospital and was there right after I woke up post-surgery. Not everybody does that. Dr. Thadani is a very skilled surgeon but he is also a very humble and kind man.” Vija also found the post-surgery healing extraordinary. Says Vija, “I’ve had hip replacements both ways now and for me, there was no comparison between the recoveries.”

With the first replacement in 2009, Vija’s quad muscle was paralyzed for several weeks and she had many post-surgical limitations. “I couldn’t cross my ankles. I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes or pull on a sock. I used a reacher, a walker, and a cane. The fear was that you’d dislocate or pop out the new joint.”

After the anterior procedure, Vija was mobile 48 hours after surgery with no special precautions. Coming home, she used a walker to get up the steps outside her house, then set it aside and didn’t use it again. “The first time around in 2009 I was in a rehab facility for nine days. I had home PT for two weeks followed by three months of outpatient PT. This time, I was back to work a month after surgery. My co-workers couldn’t believe it – no assistive devices and no limp.”

Physical therapy was an essential part of her recovery. Vija had two weeks of in-home physical therapy, then six sessions of outpatient PT with IBJI-Libertyville therapist, Elizabeth Culver. “I loved Elizabeth. PT is so important and I like that it’s all connected at IBJI. I did so well I finished earlier than planned!”

In July 2013, Vija returned to Dr. Thadani for replacement of her knee. She had two weeks of at-home PT, then returned to IBJI for outpatient sessions with Elizabeth, the same therapist she worked with on her hip. Two months after surgery, Vija was back to work as a sales consultant for long-term care insurance. “After 18 years of knee pain, you know when it’s time. I’m an independent soul and it’s hard to give up the controls, but with Dr. Thadani and his team, I had no qualms at all. While the recovery from knee replacement isn’t as easy as from anterior hip replacement, I am so grateful for having my mobility restored.”

Vija will retire at the end of this year. “I can’t wait to have more time to enjoy my kids and grandkids - and I want to do more at my church. Thanks to Dr. Thadani and his team, I can live a full life again.” Says Dr. Thadani, “Vija is a breath of fresh air. She just brings you up. She’s lived with a lot of pain over the years. We’re just so pleased we could help.” Says Vija, “Dr. Thadani is the best there is.”

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