News Center

Thursday, January 13, 2011

St. Francis-based Center for Hip & Knee Surgery observes 25 years of cutting-edge service

MOORESVILLE, Ind. – Not many things last 25 years, let alone get better with age. But that’s the case with the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery (CHKS), celebrating its silver anniversary this year – 25 years of restoring the health and quality of life to more than 35,000 patients.

Established in 1986 by Merrill Ritter, M.D., CHKS was one of the first orthopedic centers of excellence in the nation and was Indiana’s first specialized center for total joint replacement. Since then, the Center has treated patients from all 92 Indiana counties and from around the nation and the world.

Today, the Center, located at Franciscan St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville, is recognized as one of the leading total joint replacement centers in the world, internationally known for its extensive patient follow-up, leading-edge research and new technology and procedures to improve patients’ quality of life.

The Center has been ranked by HealthGrades:

  • No. 1 in Indiana and in the top 5 percent in the nation for joint replacement for five consecutive years.
  • A 5-star hospital in both total hip and total knee replacement for nine consecutive years.

HealthGrades is one of the nation’s premier health care ratings companies and reviews more than 5,000 hospitals throughout the United States. HealthGrades ranks those medical facilities using Medicare data and quality measures, such as outcomes and complication rates.


Top Docs

Each of the Center’s six fellowship-trained surgeons performs about 400 to 500 joint replacement surgeries a year, 10 times the national average. This ultimately translates to better patient care because evidence has shown that higher-volume centers and surgeons with more experience have better outcomes.

The American Association for Hip and Knee Surgeons, along with The Hip Society and The Knee Society, comprise the most experienced hip and knee surgeons in the world, and Center surgeons are active members in each organization. In fact, only about 100 surgeons worldwide are members of the two societies, and five of those are at the Center.

The surgeons, all of whom are affiliated with St. Francis Medical Group, are internationally recognized for their clinical research contributions, as well as for their use of new technology and procedures to improve their patients’ quality of life.

With more than 30,000 joint replacements performed, the Center has access to one of the largest databases of joint replacements in the world. Center surgeons continually analyze this data – studying complications such as infection rates – and make changes to improve outcomes.

Research Focus

Through their research, they have developed many of the infection prevention protocols in place all over the world, and they have made changes in the surgical techniques for safely implanting hip and knee devices.

In addition to enhancing knowledge through research, Center surgeons are advancing the field of orthopedics by training the next generation of surgeons. They have instructed hundreds of surgeons from around the world in the latest techniques for joint implantation. In just the past year, Center surgeons have trained colleagues in England, Scotland, Korea, China, the Netherlands and Nicaragua.

Students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology learn by doing projects in a CHKS research lab at the university, designed to improve joint replacement implants. The Institute recently received a major grant from the National Science Foundation for research projects in orthopedics that could lead to the development of improved, cost-effective design alternatives for knee and hip implants.

Best Tech

The latest technology at the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery enables the surgeons to better treat their patients and ensure better surgical outcomes. For example, the operating suites at the Mooresville hospital include advanced ultraviolet lighting and laminar air flow to reduce infection rates. In fact, the joint replacement infection rate is approximately one-half of 1 percent (.05%), compared to a national average of about 3.5 percent.

The hospital’s orthopedic inpatient unit features private patient rooms, modern conveniences and the latest technology for patients and the medical team, including wireless technology and electronic bedside charting for improved caregiver communication and efficiency.

The hospital’s internal medicine physicians, called hospitalists, perform pre-operative physical evaluation (at the IMPACT Center in Mooresville or the north office in Carmel), and oversee patients’ medical health during their hospital stay, including daily visits.

Two of the keys to the success of the Center’s joint replacement program are the early identification of risks and the prevention of complications. The goal is to ensure each patient has the best possible experience and surgical outcome.

“It’s not just that we’re really experienced, that we’ve done a lot of surgeries and we’re really efficient at it,” said orthopedic surgeon Michael Berend, M.D. “We communicate. We educate patients. And we care about them.”

To learn more about services at the St. Francis-based Center for Hip & Knee Surgery, go to