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Patient story

  • Mel Jacobson, a world-class potter based in Minnetonka, figures he has added 20 years to his career, thanks to recent shoulder surgery at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

    "I'm back to throwing 25 pounds of clay, something I haven't been able to do for 15 years or more," he said.

    "Shoulder replacement surgery is recommended for people who have painful arthritis of the shoulder that does not respond to non-surgical treatment like pain medicine or physical therapy," said L. Pearce McCarty III, MD, Sports & Orthopaedic Specialists. Surgeons at Abbott Northwestern perform about 300 shoulder surgeries a year, a significant number considering there are a total of 29,000 such surgeries a year throughout the U.S.

    Surgeons like McCarty and Frank Norberg, MD, from Twin Cities Orthopedics, have recently worked with the hospital to further enhance the shoulder program. Patients receive comprehensive education and preparation.

    "Patients know exactly what to expect before, during and after surgery, and that means less anxiety and a better experience overall," said Norberg.

    Jacobson, who is 79, had Norberg replace both of his shoulders about six months apart. "Both were so simple and easy," said Jacobson.

    Although each patient's experience is unique, Jacobson only needed pain medicine for a few days after surgery. He carefully followed the instructions for exercising and stretching after surgery. "And I was back to making pots in about 10 weeks."