2019 Top Doctor: Anikar Chhabra

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Dr. Chhabra with ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins; Photography by Steve Craft
Dr. Chhabra with ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins; Photography by Steve Craft

Orthopedic surgery

Med School/Year Graduated: University of Virginia, 1998

Years in Practice: 15

What inspired you to specialize in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine?

My family has had a strong influence on my path to medicine, as my father is a pediatrician and my brother is also an orthopedic surgeon. I have always loved the biomechanics and function of the musculoskeletal system, so orthopedics was a great fit.

Were you an athlete growing up? Does that afford any insight in terms of your patients?

I’ve been an athlete and sports junkie my entire life. As a four-year varsity college basketball player at Harvard, I sustained several injuries and am familiar with the locker room culture. This background gives me insight into my patients.

How has sports medicine changed in the years you’ve been practicing?

When I first started, the push was for anatomic fixation of injured structures. Now, we emphasize injury prevention and biologic treatment of injuries with things such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells. The scientific advances in the next 10 years are going to change the way we practice sports medicine.

You’re  the orthopedic surgeon for Arizona State University athletes. Do you provide care to other, non-ASU athletes?

Most definitely. I take care of athletes of all levels, ages and sports. From recreational athletes to the pros, everyone is trying to get back to what they enjoy, and it’s great to be part of
the process.

What are the most common procedures you perform? What is the most exotic?

As an arthroscopic specialist, the most common procedures I perform are knee ligament and cartilage surgery, such as meniscus repairs and ACL reconstructions. The most exotic procedures I perform are knee meniscus and cartilage transplants.

Your online profile shows an interesting business venture. Tell us about it.

With three friends from medical school, we developed Malabar, a spiced liquor with flavors from India and Portugal. It has recently been released in Arizona and is doing well. Being in the spirits industry is definitely a different hobby than most doctors!

What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?

We are blessed to have two amazing children, so most of our free time is spent with family. My wife is an anesthesiologist, so juggling schedules is a challenge.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

Narcos. How the drug cartels influenced the South American economy and culture is fascinating. Great show!

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