Having Surgery – You Should Strongly Consider Prehabilitation (Prehab)
Prehab, short for prehabilitation, is a type of physical therapy that focuses on preparing the body before (pre) surgery. It’s similar to regular physical therapy, but it’s done before the patient has surgery. The goal of prehab is to improve the patient’s physical condition, so recovery is easier – more on this below.
What Types of Surgery Benefit from Prehabilitation?
It’s reasonable to assume that just about anyone that is having orthopedic surgery will benefit from prehabilitation.
These are some common surgical procedures patients experience that should go through our program:
- Total knee replacement,
- Total hip replacement,
- Rotator cuff repairs or
- Shoulder replacement surgeries .
Doctors and rehabilitation scientists have studied prehab with the above-mentioned surgical procedures and the results have been positive.
Clinical Research Suggest Prehabilitation Helps Patients Avoid Complications, Reduce Costs, & Decrease Your Time in the Hospital
Prehab can help to reduce the risk of a number of functional problems after surgery. For example, if a patient has weak muscles or poor cardiorespiratory endurance, they may have trouble getting out of bed, trouble with personal hygiene & using the toilet, difficulty walking & getting around the home, or challenges with stairs & uneven surfaces.
More than one research study has demonstrated that by participating in a prehab program, the patient is less likely to experience these complications. Reference
Equally important there is some new evidence that rehabilitation will reduce costs and number of days in the hospital. Reference
Prehab Also Help Patients Recover Faster
Prehab can also help to speed up the recovery process after surgery. By getting the body in better shape before the operation, patients are more likely to be able to move around and do daily activities sooner. This can lead to a faster return to work or other activities, and a quicker overall recovery.
Prehab Helps Reduce Pain
Another benefit of prehab is that it can help to reduce the amount of pain and discomfort after surgery. By getting the body in better shape before the operation, patients may be less likely to experience pain and soreness after the surgery.
What Does Prehabilitation Include?
Prehab will vary from one patient to the other. We customize your prehab experience based on your personal needs. That said, prehab may include some or all of the following:
- Personalized strengthening exercises so you recover your strength faster
- Cardiorespiratory exercises and activities so improve your endurance and help with recovery after anesthesia,
- Stretching and range of motion exercises so you can recover your joint motion faster after surgery,
- Diet & nutrition advice to ensure your body has the nutritional support for optimal healing,
- Post-surgical pain advice so you know how pain works, what you should expect, ways to alleviate your discomfort, and have an increased awareness of signs and symptoms that you should alert your surgeon about,
- Joint support & sleeping recommendations so you can support the joint/spine after surgery.
Is Prehab Right for You…Give Us a Call
In conclusion, prehab is a type of therapy that can help you to prepare your body for surgery. It has many benefits such as reducing the risk of complications, speeding up recovery and reducing pain and discomfort.
If you are considering surgery, you should make prehab part of your preparation for better results.
Surgeons routinely refer post-surgical patients to our physical therapists to help them recover strength, function and mobility.
Our therapists provide one-on-one, evidence-based physical therapy treatment sessions to help facilitate your recovery and return to activities of daily living (ADLs), work, recreational activities, and even competitive sports.
The rehabilitative process depends on the injury and type of surgery. We help patients recover and rehabilitate from a variety of orthopedic post-operative procedures, including:
- Knee, hip, and shoulder joint replacements
- Reconstruction of any one or more of the four major knee ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
- Arthroscopic knee surgeries (such as meniscectomies, meniscal repairs)
- Ligament and tendon repair, including Achilles tendon repairs
- Arthroscopic hip surgeries (such as labral repairs)
- Nerve releases (such as cubital tunnel, radial tunnel, carpal tunnel, tarsal tunnel)
- Neck and back surgery (such as fusions, laminectomy, decompression, and discectomy)
- Nerve compression release
- Bone or joint fusion (arthrodesis)
- Tendon transfers
- Surgical fixation of fractures, including open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), a two-part surgery used to fix broken bones where the broken bone is reduced (put back into place) and an internal fixation device is placed on the bone (e.g., screws, plates, rods or pins) to hold the bone together
- Shoulder post-surgical recovery for rotator cuff tears, labral tears, superior labrum anterior and posterior (SLAP) tear or lesion, arthroscopy, and more
Some of the therapies used to accomplish the goal of regaining movement and reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness may include one or more of the following:
- Manual therapy
- Soft tissue and/or joint mobilization
- Muscle energy
- Gait and balance training
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – electrical muscle & nerve stimulation
- Therapeutic exercise and functional strength training
- Functional re-education
- Rehabilitative exercises to help increase strength, endurance, motion, balance, and coordination