Pre- and Post-Operative Rehabilitation

Pre- and Post-Operative Rehabilitation

Pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation are terms for treatment programs designed to improve the outcome of a surgical procedure. Pre-operative plans are put into place to before the surgery, and post-operative plans after. The two types of plans are similar in that they both usually involve range of motion and strength conditioning exercises, but they differ in purpose.

Common Surgeries Requiring Pre/Post-Op Rehab

  • ankle surgeries
  • hip replacement
  • knee replacement
  • shoulder surgeries
  • wrist and hand surgeries

Pre-Operative Rehabilitation

Pre-operative rehabilitation typically focuses on increasing the affected area’s strength and range of motion while managing pain. The types of exercises that can be used during this phase may be limited depending on the severity of the injury. (For example, a rotator cuff tear may only be able to withstand gentle passive range of motion exercises and no strength training.)

As this type of plan is put into action in preparation for surgery, its goals are usually fairly reserved. Promoting gentle conditioning and natural healing in the area is often the extent of a pre-operative rehabilitation program. The exercises taught to the patient are sometimes used after the surgery as well. Those that can’t yet be performed are typically taught in preparation for the post-operative program.

Post-Operative Rehabilitation

Post-operative rehabilitation focuses on restoring or improving functionality to the affected area following surgery. After the operation, the affected area will usually suffer from greatly reduced strength and range of motion. Gentle exercises start off the program, moving toward more and more activity as the area regains its strength and function.

Pre- and Post-Operative Treatment Options

  • electrical stimulation
  • home exercise instructions
  • home strain-counterstrain instructions
  • manual therapy
  • range of motion exercises
  • strength exercises
  • vasopneumatic device

Goals following surgery are more aggressive than those of the pre-operative plan. As the body heals from the surgery, the affected area is expected to surpass its performance prior to the surgery. At Central Washington Physical Therapy, located in Yakima, our trained staff can guide you through an appropriate pre- and post-operative rehabilitation plan to help you progress back to your full level of function.

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