If you are scheduled for an ACL reconstruction, RTC repair, Joint replacement, chemotherapy or any other surgery, it is important to prepare your body and mind to minimize the inevitable side effects such as blockage or damage to lymphatic vessels, bone stiffness, muscle loss, blood loss, infections etc. Most people are familiar with post-surgery rehabilitation but pre-op or surgical rehabilitation is slowly gaining recognition because it is turning out be effective and provides various benefits. Studies show that pre-op rehabilitation decreases the cost and effort put on post-surgery rehabilitation by 29% in the case of total joint replacement. Moreover, a greater percentage of athletes (72%) who went through 10 session-pre-op physio program recovered to their pre-injury state of performance within 2 years in comparison to those (63%) who did not.
Pre-op Rehabilitation is a systematic way to prepare yourself for a surgery and facilitate smooth and faster recovery afterward.
The key goals of pre-op rehabilitation are
- Emotionally prepare a patient for the surgery
- Keeping the tissues surrounding the surgical site healthy and strong.
- Reducing inflammation and pain
- Restoring range of motion
- Improve ambulation
- Normalizing movement
- Educating the patient about the surgery process and how to adapt to it.
Pre-op rehabilitation aims to prepare, strengthen and educate a person about various aspects that he or she has to deal with after the surgery. You will be introduced to simple and targeted exercises, motions, and stretches depending on the surgery you will go through. These exercises improve blood circulation, mobility, enhance body balance, and reduce compensatory movements.
The period of pre-op rehabilitation can range from a few hours to few days before the surgery. The exercises target the muscle groups, tissues and lymphatic system in and around the surgical area. These ensure that you establish a muscle memory for specific movement patterns and have the strength to deal with the side effects during the post-surgery period such as pain, inflammation, swelling etc. Also during preparation, the physiotherapist will tell you about the right way to use assistive devices such as walkers, crutches or canes.
The muscles near the surgery site can be weaker and less flexible. It is important to strengthen and improve their range of motion to make recovery easier. Although the surgery is planned, our body reacts to it similar to an accidental trauma. So, pre-op rehabilitation teaches the patient to deal with the effects of surgery by educating them about the discomforts that may arise and how to counteract them. Also, the physiotherapist will present an outlook on the surgery itself and recovery to comfort the patient and keep anxiety in check.
Example Pre-op rehabilitation exercises for ACL surgery
- Duration: 4 to 6 weeks
- 20 to 30 minutes of cardio exercise 2 to 3 times a week. All the exercises are a straight line and low impact activities like working on the elliptical trainer and walking up and down the stairs.
- 15 to 20 minutes of strength training. The typical exercises include quadriceps contraction, straight leg raises, hip adduction, calf raises, hamstrings, gluteals, squats, and single leg squats.
- This program aims at improving body balance, increase muscle strength, decrease pain after surgery, reduce stress and build confidence.
Essential guidelines of pre-op rehabilitation program.
Start pre-op rehabilitation program 4 to 6 weeks before the day of surgery.
Do not over exert yourself while performing exercises to avoid aggravation or triggering of new problems.
Over the period, increase the frequency of exercising as long as it does not cause injury or interfere with the problem. Consult your physiotherapist to know your goals and benchmarks. For example, a number of stairs to climb.
Pre-op rehabilitation Physiotherapist Consultation
A physiotherapist after evaluating your body will determine your muscle and joint strength, flexibility in terms of ability to move, carry out day-to-day tasks such as getting out of the bed, climbing stairs, and your dependency on family members or friends for assistance. With the analysis, the physiotherapist will suggest a pre-op rehabilitation plan that introduces you to breathing techniques, motion, stress-relieving exercises, and provides guidance on surgery process. Pre-op rehabilitation is still new in the medical industry and might not be covered by insurance.
We at Rapidphysiocare offer high quality personalized Pre-op rehabilitation assistance that caters to your lifestyle and impending surgery. We listen to our patient’s difficulties analyze them and offer the best, safe and reliable guidance to overcome them. The expert physios working closely with your surgeon will offer proven evidence-based therapies will accelerate your recovery after surgery. Our goal is to bring back your strength, full range of motion, and function as soon as possible. Contact us and book your appointment now.