Many people who are expecting to have surgery are not always referred to physiotherapy prior to their procedures. Medical research has shown that functional status prior to surgery is a predictor of outcomes and recovery post surgery.

Pre-operative physical therapy/rehabilitation is especially important for the older individual. As reported by the World Confederation of Physical Therapy Congress 2011, the older individual with compromised physiological function (e.g. heart conditions, diabetes, hypertension) and fragile physical condition, will lose muscle mass three times as quickly as the normal individual after an operation from inactivity alone. After surgery, there are hormonal changes and the body releases inflammatory factors which causes muscle loss. This rapid decline in muscle mass leads to compromised self care and independence. Good fitness, strength, and health prior to surgery can decrease post-operative complications, recovery time, and have shorter hospital stays. Our mobile therapists will be able to cater an exercise program depending on the type of surgery scheduled.

For more information, click on the following link for the full congress article: Essense of preoperative physical therapy for the frail

Common surgeries requiring pre-operative physical therapy: Total hip/ knee replacements

Post-Operative Physical Therapy

Physical therapy post-op differs depending on the type of surgery. Some surgeries require immediate mobilization (e.g. post hip/ knee replacement, ACL reconstruction) while others require a period of very limited to no movement (e.g. shoulder reconstruction). The natural response of the body after a surgery is inflammation which involves pain, swelling, redness, heat, and loss of function. The initial stages of physiotherapy and rehabilitation is to minimize the inflammatory response while maintaining muscle function and flexibility. The following stages generally encompasses increasing joint range of motion, muscle strength/ endurance, flexibility, and progression into normal or recreational physical activities. Stages of progression depend on the stage of recovery. Recovery time depends on the type of surgery, age of the individual, and other factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, presence of cardiovascular diseases, and physical fitness prior to surgery.

Common surgeries requiring post-operative physical therapy: ACL reconstruction, meniscal repair, laminectomy, hip/knee replacement, shoulder reconstruction, rotator cuff repair, mastectomy