Ed Linder’s Total Shoulder Replacement

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PTs, nurses and fellow orthopedic specialists at The Steadman Clinic refer to him as the “Poster Boy”, while those at the Howard Head Sports Medicine Center in Vail simply refer to him as “the Mayor.”

When 66-year old promotional sales guru Ed Linder begins to talk about the care he received under Dr. Peter Millett and the entire crew at Howard Head, it will take just a mere seconds until you are sold too.  So passionate is Ed about the success of his shoulder replacement surgeries and the treatment at these world-class facilities, that it was Ed’s daughter that told Dr. Millett, “If you are in the market for a new PR person, just hire my Dad.  He can’t stop talking about you!”

When asked, how did they come up with these names?  Ed shrugs his new pain-free shoulders and simply states, “When you are with the same people day in and day out, you get to know each other pretty well.  During my therapy, there were many days filled with laughs, struggles, bonds and triumphs that created unique relationships and circumstances.  I think the staff knew on day one of my therapy that I was in charge of my own success and my own destiny and they figured out pretty fast that I was not one who was going to stray even for a second from my prescribed protocol and therapy regime.  I think that is when they started calling me the Mayor,” laughs Ed.

For years, Ed endured and lived with the intense pain he felt in both of his shoulders.  As a successful salesman in the promotional products business, he spent decades carrying around large heavy boxes as he met with clients and showed the products his company had to offer.  That coupled with weekly, sometimes daily golf games, eventually weakened his shoulders.  By age 60, Ed had osteoarthritis in both of his shoulders.

While the mobility and range of motion deteriorated over several years, Ed recalls a time when the osteoarthritis of the shoulders became so painful, that he could not even put his wallet in his back pocket.  “My shoulders were a daily issue for me,” recalls Ed.  “The throbbing pain and serious lack of movement and motion really had me wondering what could be done to help.  I had already had one doctor tell me that I should consider shoulder replacement surgery.  However, it was that same doctor who in the same sentence told me that this shoulder arthritis treatment and a surgery of this significance would only last about seven years; within a decade I would lose the function of my arms.  I said ‘no thanks’ and went on living with the pain for a few more years,” said Ed.

Ed was familiar with The Steadman Clinic in Vail. He remembered reading about it many times in the Sports section of the New York papers.  It was a friend who encouraged him to make an appointment.  Ed scheduled a trip to Vail to meet with Dr. Millett, while in Colorado for a social event.  Because he was only there for a short time, he sent Dr. Millett his MRIs in advance.  One day later, he received a call on his cell from Dr. Millett confirming that he should in fact consider shoulder replacement surgery.

Ed expressed his concerns and fears about the prognosis that his former orthopedic doctor gave him regarding the possibility of having to have the surgery again less than a decade later.  Dr. Millett assured him that his shoulder replacement procedures would last at least 25 years.  The two men continued to talk on the phone that day for more than an hour.  During the call, Dr. Millett explained what to expect before and after, the strict therapy regime and what Ed would have to do for these surgeries to be successful.  At that time, Ed decided to move forward with his left shoulder replacement.

Ed_2Essentially, during a shoulder replacement surgery, (which is often a final step in helping patients who are suffering from osteoarthritis) a metal ball and polyethylene cup replace the shoulder joint.  Dr. Millett uses an anatomic type of implant design which restores the anatomy of the shoulder virtually back to normal.

In November 2009, Ed had his left shoulder replaced by Dr. Millett.  Waking up in the recovery room, Ed distinctly remembers what he felt and what he said, “I woke up in the recovery room and my arm already felt so much better.  I was in shock over the immediate improvement.  I immediately told Dr. Millett, ‘schedule the next surgery,’ and just over two months later, I was getting my right shoulder operated on.”

Later, after both surgeries were complete, Dr. Millett would tell Ed that the advanced osteoarthritis in both shoulders included large bone spurs and damage to the tissue that was very complex and among one of the most difficult cases he had seen.  He also could not believe that Ed had resisted taking painkillers and had lived with such severe pain and functional limitations.

With both surgeries behind him, Ed would spend months in rehab and physical therapy.  A great deal of his post-op treatment was done in Vail.  According to Ed, “I chose to do most of my therapy in Vail.  However, I did go to one other clinic closer to home, and the difference in care and expertise of the doctors and specialists were like night and day compared to what I got from Steadman’s team.  I knew I couldn’t stay in Vail forever, so they spent lots of time showing me the exact exercises.  From there, I was able to complete the rehab at home by myself.”

Ed_3Now, more than 18 months post-op, Ed is beaming.  With a full 100% range of motion in both arms, he is pain-free and ecstatic over the success of his new shoulders.  Aside from all of the other names given to him during this life-changing process, he is sometimes also called the “poster boy” of shoulder replacement success.

According to Ed, “I simply cannot thank Dr. Millett and his wonderful staff enough for all they have done for me.  I consider Dr. Millett a friend, not only my doctor.  While I continue to play golf and do the things I love & live a carefree life, I am careful at the same time.  I want to make that 25-year benchmark a reality.  I’m continuing to live day after day using Dr. Millett’s strategies, protocols and post-surgery recommendations.  My goal is to stay healthy and pain-free for years and years to come.

Ed is currently playing golf and living life to the fullest with his wife of 43 years, Carole.  His handicap on the course continues to improve and he is using his new range of motion and mobility to take his game to the top of the charts!

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While clinical studies support the effectiveness of these procedures, individual results may vary. There are no guarantees of outcome. All surgeries involve the risk of major complications. Before you decide on surgery, discuss treatment options with your doctor. Understanding the risks of each treatment can help you make the best decision for your individual situation.  Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits. Only your doctor can determine the appropriate treatment for your situation. The clinical information and opinions, including any inaccuracies expressed in this material by patients or doctor are not necessarily those of Peter Millett, MD and should not be considered as substitute for medical advice provided by your doctor.