Pre-Surgical Rehabilitation: Unlocking the Key to Successful Recovery

January 20th, 2024
Pre-Surgical Treatment in Ontario

Jumpstart your rehabilitation before your procedure even begins!

Scheduled for an orthopedic surgery, such as an ACL repair or total hip replacement? If so, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about your rehabilitation afterward. But did you know you can start that process before you even check in for your procedure? Pre-surgical rehabilitation, often shortened to “prehab,” involves ensuring that your body is as prepared as possible before surgery–kickstarting your rehabilitation process early.

Studies show that patients who engage in pre-operative physiotherapy spend less time in the hospital after their surgery and are more likely to make full use of post-operative rehabilitation programs.

But what exactly occurs during prehab? Generally speaking, pre-surgical physiotherapy prepares you physically and mentally for your upcoming procedure. At MEX Physio, our physiotherapists work with people preparing for various orthopedic surgeries, such as total joint replacements and carpal tunnel repairs. We’ll help you improve your general fitness, manage pre-surgical pain, and let you know what you can expect during your recovery.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from pre-surgical rehabilitation. Or give us a call at our ON clinic to talk to one of our staff about how prehab can benefit you!

Surgical Procedures that Benefit from Pre-Surgical Rehabilitation

Pre-surgical physiotherapy is beneficial for any elective surgery. Surgeries are highly invasive procedures that carry several risks, including anesthesia complications, blood clots, and wound infections. Improving your strength and stamina with a targeted exercise program can help minimize these risks.

However, prehab is especially effective for orthopedic surgeries–surgeries that address issues in your musculoskeletal system. These surgeries often have long rehabilitation times–anywhere from six months to over a year–so prehab and protecting you from the general risks of surgery can also prepare you for the lengthy rehabilitation process.

Here are a few of the common surgical procedures that the physiotherapists at MEX Physio can help you prepare for:

  • Total Joint Replacements: Most people who undergo these procedures have osteoarthritis, which causes the cartilage in the affected joint to degenerate. During the procedure, the surgeon replaces damaged material with a prosthesis. Common TJRs include hip, knee, and ankle replacements.
  • Rotator Cuff Repair: Your rotator cuff is a set of muscles that wrap around your shoulder joint. If you completely tear one of the ligaments in your rotator cuff, you’ll likely need a rotator cuff repair.
  • ACL Reconstruction: This procedure is similar to a rotator cuff repair. Your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is located in your knee. If it tears completely, a surgeon will need to reconstruct the affected ligament.
  • Discectomy: If you’re struggling with a herniated disc that isn’t responding to physiotherapy or other treatment options, you’ll likely undergo a discectomy, during which the surgeon will remove the damaged disc and replace it with either a fragment of your own bone or synthetic bone material.

The Many Benefits of Pre-Surgical Rehabilitation

When it comes to orthopedic conditions, such as osteoarthritis or soft tissue injuries, physiotherapy is typically considered a front-line treatment. That means you can often avoid surgery altogether simply by utilizing regular physiotherapy.

Of course, there will be situations where surgery is the best option. But in those cases, physiotherapy still remains a powerful tool. The same techniques that help resolve less severe injuries or conditions will help you get your body in the best possible state for surgery.

Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from prehab at MEX Physio:

  • Improved aerobic capacity: Research shows better cardiorespiratory fitness improves surgical outcomes. We’ll help you find a cardio routine that suits your ability levels and interests.
  • Better mental preparedness: Prehab can also mentally prepare you for your surgery. Our physiotherapists will let you know what you can expect from the surgery and the recovery afterward. We can also help you learn how to use any mobility aids you may need (such as crutches) and give you tips to prepare your house for a safe return from the hospital.
  • Pain Management: If your condition requires surgery, you’re likely experiencing pain. We’ll help you find a pain management program that doesn’t rely on dangerous drugs. Manual therapy and gentle therapeutic exercise can help keep your pain manageable as you prepare for your surgery.
  • Maximize Post-Surgical Rehabilitation: Post-surgical rehabilitation is crucial to fully recovering after surgery. Prehab gives you a head start, allowing you to address areas of concern beforehand. Our therapists will help you identify potential impairments, such as muscle weakness or limited range of motion, and then get you started on simple exercises to improve them.

What to Expect During Prehab at MEX Physio

Our physiotherapists will conduct a thorough assessment to help us–and you–better understand your strengths and limitations. We’ll take a complete health history and talk to you about your symptoms and concerns. We’ll also perform several comprehensive movement screens to help us understand any limitations in your strength, mobility, balance, and more.

We’ll then develop a customized plan that addresses your specific needs, pulling from several different physiotherapist techniques, including the following:

  • Manual therapy, which consists of hands-on treatments that can reduce pain, improve mobility, and promote blood circulation.
  • Therapeutic exercises, which will mimic the exercises you’ll perform during post-surgical rehabilitation. These exercises can address pain while building strength and improving the range of motion in the affected area.
  • Modalities, such as hot and cold therapy, which can address pain.

We tailor every plan to the customer, so exercises and techniques will vary based on your specific condition, upcoming surgery, and current ability level. However, the end goal of all our prehab programs is the same: the prepare you physically and mentally for your procedure.

Request An Appointment to Start Prehab Today!

It’s never too early to begin pre-surgical physiotherapy. It carries no risks and, if started early enough, may help delay your need for surgery. Even if surgery is inevitable, however, prehab will help you into the procedure as prepared as possible.

To get started at our ON clinic, schedule an appointment today!


Tags: , , , ,