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Joint Replacement Surgery Gets Tom Willoughby Moving Again

Tom Willoughby figured he had put up with his knee pain long enough.

Everyday activities and hobbies were becoming more difficult for the 83-year old Lincoln County retiree. Simple pleasures like building birdhouses for his wife, Caren – an Audubon Society board member – and tinkering with his ’49 Ford pickup truck became uncomfortable. If a birding outing involved hiking up and down hills, he wouldn’t go. Simply standing too long became more and more painful.

Tom began to look for someone who could help. Being a patient of Samaritan clinics for years, he was happy to receive a number of recommendations for the surgeons at Samaritan Medical Group Orthopedics in Albany. A knee replacement was determined to be the best course of action, and Tom eventually wound up under the care of orthopedic surgeon James Ryan, MD.

“I was very comfortable with Dr. Ryan right from the beginning,” said Tom. “He was very up front with me and told me a lot about what to expect during and after joint replacement surgery – with a great deal of detail. I was told I’d be up and moving soon after the surgery, which I never imagined.”

Tom was given a series of exercises to perform before the procedure and he participated in Samaritan’s comprehensive joint replacement class prior to his scheduled surgery date.

"Tom is a great person, and he was an absolute pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Ryan. “We are happy he was a part of our program. We like to think of it as an all-inclusive program with personalized care from start to finish. Tom’s experience is an example of what we hope to achieve with every single patient."

Three months after the surgery, Tom can’t believe how good he feels. He’s back to doing the things he loves after completing a physical therapy program at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, close to his home on Devil’s Lake.

“They told me I had a phenomenal recovery,” said Tom. “I can’t say enough about the care I received from Dr. Ryan and the team at Samaritan. I only wish I’d have done this sooner.”

See Dr. Ryan explain what to expect from knee replacement surgery.

Learn more about joint replacement at Samaritan Health Services.