Essentia Health orthopedic surgeon elected to prestigious society

Essentia Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bradley Kuzel (right) has been elected to active member status for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). This membership requires fellowship training in hand surgery, as well as passing a special exam and then final review from an ASSH selection committee.

“I love the work that I do as an orthopedic surgeon because I can significantly improve patients’ quality of life through both operative and non-operative methods,” said Dr. Kuzel. “Whether I can help a patient with an acute injury, such as a broken wrist or torn rotator cuff, or more chronic conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or shoulder arthritis, the treatments we provide can often greatly improve their lives. They have less pain, improved sleep patterns and can function better both at work and at home.”

ASSH was founded when the Surgeon General during World War II realized a need to share best practices for hand surgeries at United States Army Hospitals. As the war was ending, 35 hand surgeons, most who had worked at one of the nine Army hospitals, formed the organization. Since 1946, ASSH has grown to more than 3,800 members dedicated to the science and practice of caring for hands and arms.

Dr. Kuzel is chair for the orthopedic surgery department at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth and sees patients at the Duluth Clinic. Dr. Kuzel also sees patients at the Essentia Health clinics in Ely, Virginia, Spooner and just started caring for patients at the Essentia Health-Ashland Clinic in July.

“I feel as a surgeon we are teachers and guides for our patients,” he said. “I also enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge with undergraduate, nursing and medical students, as well as the staff that I work with each day.”

Dr. Kuzel received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed an internship in general surgery at Hennepin County Medical Center. He then trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Minnesota. His fellowship in hand and upper extremity surgery was completed at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery.

“Being a leader allows me to impact more people than would be possible in my practice alone” he said.

He is currently the president of the Minnesota Orthopaedic Society and serves on state level boards including one that is trying to create post-operative opioid prescription guidelines for surgeons and their assistants. The goal of this group is to provide the safest care for patients and decrease the impact of over-prescription of opioids on the community.

When not working, Dr. Kuzel loves to spend his free time sharing his love for the outdoors, sports and the arts with his wife, Andrea, and two boys, AJ and Edward. Andrea has helped many people in the community in her own way – through her work as owner of the Superior Ballroom Dance Studio.

To learn more about the American Society for Surgery of the Hand visit https://www.assh.org/.