Are You Scheduling Surgery? Don’t Forget the Pre-Operative and Post-Operative Rehab
Are you thinking about scheduling major surgery in the near future? If so, you may want to give serious thought to scheduling two other very important and crucial things: pre-operative and post-operative rehab.
Surgery may not be as much of a certainty in life as death or taxes, but the reality is that many of us will undergo some kind of surgical procedure in our lives. Physical rehabilitation both before and after surgery can have an enormous positive impact on your body and its ability to recuperate more quickly and completely long after the operation.
Let’s dive into what goes into these two forms of physical training and how your physical therapist can use them to optimize your surgical success and put you on the best path to recovery.
“Pre-Hab”: A Sensible Solution and Revelatory Solution
Pre-surgical rehabilitation resides under the category of preventative care known as “pre-hab.” The purpose of pre-hab is to get the body as ready as possible for a challenging situation. If you choose to participate in this practice, you won’t be alone. A study done by the APTA shows that out of the 5,852 of patients who received rehab, 52% of them did rehab before their surgery.
During this process, the patient will work directly with the physical therapist to improve the strength, durability, movement, and overall functionality in the areas and areas around where the surgery will take place.
In fact, Athletes frequently undergo pre-hab to help them prepare for a grueling sporting event that might cause injury to weak muscles or connective tissues. This strategy benefits regular patients who are about to undergo surgery just as much. Here’s an example:
For some reason, you find yourself needing reconstructive surgery on your knee. What would then happen is you would engage in several weeks of physical therapy, exercise, and training to maximize the knee’s flexibility, strength and overall wellness before your surgery date approaches. This preparation allows the knee to withstand the surgery itself more easily and pave the way for a smooth recovery.
The process of pre-hab can vary based on which practice you go to, but for the most part, the goals remain the same. What are the goals you may ask? They’re to:
- Prepare you mentally for the surgery
- Teach you about the surgery and the path to recovery
- Improve the overall health of your body to reduce the risk of complications during surgery
Ultimately, the overall success of the surgery can very well depend on your conditioning leading up to it. The better shape you’re in and the overall health of your body is critical to your overall well being pre and post-operation.
Rehabilitative Physical Therapy Will Help You on the Road to Recovery
Once your surgery has been completed, you’ll want to schedule a course of post-surgical rehabilitation as soon as possible to continue the good work you started with pre-hab. It’s important to get moving again, to whatever degree is considered safe and beneficial, as soon as possible after your procedure.
Post-surgical physical therapy offers a controlled environment for a swifter, less complicated recuperation by:
- Helping muscles regain their strength and function
- Ensuring that your joints regain their preoperative flexibility and range of motion
- Easing your post-operative discomfort naturally by boosting blood flow and encouraging fluid drainage
- Re-training you to use a part of your body that was unusable before the surgery
- Discouraging the development of unwanted scar tissue (which might interfere with muscle, skin or connective tissue motion, leaving you with long-term pain and stiffness)
- Helping you regain your balance after an extended period off of your feet
Successful Surgery is What Our Physical Therapists Do
Our physical therapist can discuss your current health status and impending surgery with you and then figure out a detailed “battle plan” that includes both preoperative and post-operative rehabilitation. You’ll want to allow several weeks, at a minimum before your procedure so that you have time to engage in the necessary pre-hab regimen. Strength and flexibility training may feature prominently in your pre-hab.
Following your surgery, you can begin your post-operative physical therapy program. In addition to strength and range-of-motion exercises, treatments can include stability training, massage therapy, cold laser therapy, kinesio taping, cryotherapy or electrical muscle stimulation. These techniques can all work with each other to provide synergistic healing effects.
Whatever pre-surgical and post-surgical rehabilitation routine you undertake, it’s definitely worth undertaking. A study of knee construction surgery patients revealed that those patients who went through pre-hab and post-operative rehab didn’t just heal more quickly after their surgery — they continued to enjoy better long-term results (for up to two years afterward) than the patients who didn’t experience rehabilitation. If that sounds like what you’ve been looking for, you owe it to yourself to contact our physical therapist!