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When it comes to advanced health needs, not all surgeries are the same, and neither are all doctors. Bourbonnais local, former college wrestler, and lifelong athlete Tony Fightmaster, 63, has had his fair share of surgeries, but he experienced something exceptional when he went to see Dr. Jalaal Shah at OAK Orthopedics in Bradley

“He was very in tune, and he didn’t have an agenda. I could tell that he was not only competent in his discipline but his ability to tune in to people and respond to people was just off the charts,” said Tony. “Dr. Shah is just a real guy: he knows how to connect with people, knows how to listen, and I think that’s a real need in healthcare today.”

Tony had been living with severe hip pain for over a year, and at OAK Orthopedics, he found that his hip joint had degenerated to the point where it was bone-on-bone. He and Dr. Shah, a fellowship-trained joint replacement specialist, ultimately went forward with an anterior hip replacement. This innovative approach, according to Dr. Shah, spares hip muscles and typically gets patients home the same day or the next day after surgery while restoring natural hip mechanics with precision. 

In addition to approaching the hip joint from an alternative angle to better preserve muscles surrounding the hip for an easier postoperative recovery, Dr. Shah also uses fluoroscopic guidance, or X-ray imaging, during these procedures for navigation. This, Dr. Shah explained, allows the surgeon to reestablish structural hip joint measurements within millimeters. 

Right after his procedure, Tony said that “Dr. Shah was definitely there and checked up on me more than once. When I went back to see him 12 days later, I immediately asked him, ‘How’d you do this? I’m not hurting!’”

“I think that we’re moving towards making this the mainstay of treatment for all of my hip replacement patients unless there are contraindications,” said Dr. Shah. “I think it’s a really powerful tool and probably, in my opinion, the best operation that we know of for hip replacement.”

“As far as my hip goes, it’s been phenomenal. I’ve had very little to no pain at all. I began walking very quickly,” said Tony. “My left hip was a mess, and Dr. Shah went in there and cleaned it all out and put the hip replacement in. I progressed tremendously — I’m doing great.”

“During an anterior hip replacement, you do the operation and they’re up and walking the same day of the surgery. They’re discharged either later that night or the next day after surgery,” explained Dr. Shah. “There’s no stitches or staples to take out. At two weeks, I check their wounds. There’s no physical therapy required, but we can do it if they wish to do it.”

Tony has made the choice to do physical therapy and stick with it, something his hip replacement has actually helped him do. His previous hip pain, along with an old wrestling injury in his knee, had both caused functional issues due to overcompensation over the years. Today, Tony is not only keeping on top of things as a senior development officer at a local university but also getting his knee and core strengthened to stay active thanks to his new hip. “I’m excited about recovering and being an active guy,” he said.

Generally, Tony says, his knee may be damaged, but it hasn’t been painful. Dr. Shah had gone over X-rays with him and, as Tony recalled, “He said to me ’I don’t know how you’re operating without pain, but I don’t treat X-rays, I treat patients.’” 

“That’s just wisdom,” Tony concluded. “In other words, he’s listening. That’s why I’m high on the guy—he’s really good!” 

If you’d like to speak with Dr. Shah to see if you’re a candidate for joint replacement or the innovative anterior hip replacement, call (815) 928-8050 for our Bradley office, call (815) 469-3452 for our Frankfort office, or request an appointment online.