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A History of Excellence

John T. Dearborn, M.D. joined the medical staff of Washington Hospital in 1997 after completing his fellowship training in joint replacement surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He had previously earned two undergraduate degrees from Stanford University and his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco.

Washington Hospital founded the Center for Joint Replacement in 1998 under the leadership of Dr. Dearborn. The mission of the CJR was to deliver state-of-the-art joint replacement care in a highly personalized environment.

In 2001, Dr. Dearborn developed a less invasive hip replacement technique that promotes faster recovery. With this innovative technique, Dr. Dearborn and a handful of surgeons across the country aimed to improve patients’ early outcomes following surgery.

By the end of the 2002 fiscal year, the CJR was treating 420 patients annually, with more than 50 bilateral joint replacements. The surgical cases were consolidated on two days per week in order to create specialized teams in the OR. This increased OR efficiency and reduced surgical times substantially.

In 2004, Dr. Dearborn joined leading surgeons in implementing minimally invasive knee surgery, which because of reduced mobilization of the kneecap during surgery, results in a significant reduction in rehabilitation time after surgery.

By the close of the 2006 fiscal year, the CJR was treating more than 1,100 patients per year, with more than 130 bilateral cases.

Alexander P. Sah, M.D. joined the CJR in 2008, having completed his fellowship in minimally invasive and revision joint replacement at Rush Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Sah attended medical school at Thomas Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia after completing his undergraduate work at Haverford College. He then did his Orthopedic Residency at Harvard Medical School.

The program grew exponentially over the years, and in 2012 the CJR ended.

The new Institute for Joint Restoration and Research was launched in 2012 to build on and continue the ground-breaking work pioneered by Dr. Dearborn and Dr. Sah. The vision for the Institute is to advance joint replacement surgery internationally through investigational research, teaching, and technological innovation.

The Institute for Joint Restoration and Research is housed in a new building adjacent to Washington Hospital. The 20,000 square-foot modern, light-filled facility is designed to enhance every patient’s experience while in our care. The new facility offers a seamless continuum of care, with office visits, pre-op classes and your in-patient stays all under one roof.

​For ten consecutive years, as a result of the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research, Washington Hospital has been a recipient of the Healthgrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award, consistently earning it a place among the top 5% in the nation for joint replacement as one of America’s 100 best hospitals for joint replacement surgery. In addition, Washington Hospital received a five-star designation for total hip replacement for the thirteenth year in row, and total knee replacement for the eleventh year in a row.

Today, with Dr. Dearborn and Dr. Sah at the helm, the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research is on track to perform more than 1,300 joint replacement surgeries annually for patients who come from all over the Western United States for treatment in Fremont. Outcomes collected from the thousands of patients treated at the Institute are continuously updated in the Institute's comprehensive joint registry, which has become a powerful clinical research tool.

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