PT 360 NEWS APRIL 2018

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G et the M ost O ut of S urgery W ith "P rehabilitation "

Though the research on prehabilitation is steadily expanding, displaying benefits for all kinds of conditions, the current data shows that prehabilitation works best for the following procedures:

While most physical therapists will not recommend surgery unless there is clearly no other avenue for a patient’s recovery, there are certainly a wide array of circumstances that warrant going under the knife. Following surgery, most patients should undergo a bout of rehabilitative physical therapy to steer the postoperative recovery process in a positive direction. However, recent research indicates that although rehabilitation is definitely important, it may not actually be enough to get the most out of a treatment. In addition to postoperative rehabilitation programs, many modern health care providers have begun recommending 4–8 weeks of exercise-based physical therapy before undergoing surgery. This pre- emptive therapy is sometimes called prehabilitation, and it can offer a host of benefits for surgical patients. These advantages include faster recovery times, fewer days spent in the hospital, lower incidence rates of surgical complications, less pain, higher activity levels, and general improved fitness following surgery. All these benefits converge to bring about a happier, healthier patient who is more likely to return to doing what they love without worry.

• Joint replacement

• Heart surgery

• Correction of spinal disorders, particularly stenosis

• Chemotherapy

In essence, prehabilitative patients are training for their surgery the same way a runner might train for a marathon. Considering the stress most surgeries put on the body, it only makes sense to adequately prepare. However, it’s important that any prehabilitative measures are carefully guided by a professional. The exercises must be rigorous enough to strengthen and prepare the patient in the short window before surgery, but it’s vital they don’t further injure or worsen the patient’s condition. If a therapist is able to maintain this delicate balance, they can motivate and guide their patient toward positive outcomes for years to come.

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