4,733 Medicare cases involving total hip or knee replacement from a combination of 169 rural and urban hospitals with wide geographic distribution and found that 79.7% percent of patients who did not receive preoperative physical therapy required post-acute care services. That rate dropped to 54.2% for patients who received even a small number of physical therapy sessions before surgery. The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
Another study supports the merits of presurgical physical therapy. Between 2007 and 2011, 2,690 patients were monitored after surgery. Those who had physical therapy prior to surgery had much better outcomes than those who did not. The ones who had physical therapy scored significantly better at certain measure points a year after surgery and were still going strong two years after undergoing surgery.
Those patients who participate in pre-hab programs often have shorter hospital stays, regain function and return to their regular lives faster than those who do not participate in pre-surgical rehabilitation.
As a result, many doctors are now “prescribing” pre-hab before surgery for their patients. And most HMOs and insurance companies are beginning to cover pre-surgical rehab costs. This makes it cost-effective for patients to afford rehab costs.
Often before surgery, the region to be operated on is weak and inflamed. Physical therapy can help improve blood circulation to the area for increased mobility and pain relief. It also helps minimize compensatory movements. Being in the best of health goes a long way to postoperative recovery. Simple guidelines of rehab before surgery include:
Pre-surgical rehab is comprehensive. Movement restrictions may be given, and supportive garments may be discussed. You may also be instructed on how to use an assistive device and instructed in a home exercise program. Rehab before surgery benefits those having neck and back surgery, arthroscopic knee surgery, joint replacements and rotator cuff repairs. Just about any type of surgery has benefits with pre-surgical rehab.
is an individualized physical conditioning program and a collaborative effort involving your surgeon and physical therapist. Typically, programs begin with isometric exercises like stretching and low-impact muscle toning. The exercises are designed to strengthen ligaments, tendons, and muscles. If there is some discomfort, your physical therapist can help reduce the pain with cold packs, ultrasound or electrical stimulation.
Plus, in a rehab setting, you can talk with other patients who have already had the surgery and see their progress. You can also get some of the mental, physical and emotional confidence required to succeed in post-surgical programs from engaging with others. Most patients benefit greatly from pre-surgical programs.
If you’re a good candidate for it, we’ll work with your doctor and physician to come up with the best course of prehab therapy for your specific needs.
The road to recovery doesn’t have to wait until after surgery.