Pre-surgical rehabilitation or “prehab” is a preparative exercise program prior to surgery that helps improve overall surgical outcomes. It helps with post-surgical pain management, minimizing the hospital stay and decreasing complications associated with surgery. Prehab is common and necessary for orthopedic patients undergoing joint replacement procedures.
What types of Pre-Surgical Rehabilitation Exercises are performed?
A pre-habilitation program involves an assessment of the condition, as well as exercise therapy, and education to help meet the functional, social, and psychological needs of each patient. It improves your overall strength prior to surgery and may help reduce the duration of post-surgical recovery.
Pre-surgical exercises commonly include:
- Strength training exercises (water-based and land-based)
- Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques
What can I expect when starting Pre-surgical Rehabilitation Exercises?
During the initial prehab session, a thorough assessment is done which helps determine the specific needs of the patient. The latter session includes an exercise program for about 6 weeks prior to surgery, starting with basic exercises that gradually become more advanced.
Typically, patients will be taken through a series of exercises that will target key muscle groups needed to perform daily activities during the immediate post-surgical period. Included are active and passive range-of-motion exercises, concentric movements, and isometrics. The program is tailored to the pre-existing medical conditions of the patient.
Physically-fit individuals are encouraged to increase their frequency of exercises prior to surgery.
For the best outcome, you should avoid smoking or consuming alcohol, eat a healthy diet, take the medications prescribed by your doctor, and stay active.