Surgery Rehabilitation

Written by Leian Lee

Pre-Surgery Rehab

Physiotherapy is essential prior to surgery to maximise the benefits of the surgery and to achieve your goals post surgery. This ‘prehabilitation’ provides the best launching pad to a successful recovery. It involves undertaking a specific program designed to:

  • increase strength and range of movement;
  • increase balance, endurance and joint awareness;
  • increase core strength and upper body strength for greater control of walking aids; and
  • increase general fitness and posture so recovery is enhanced post surgery.

Post-Surgery Rehab

A specific physiotherapy program is aimed at the individual’s needs to:

  • effective pain management;
  • increase strength and range of movement;
  • increase balance, endurance and joint awareness; and
  • increase core strength and postural strength for ability to pursue your preferred activities.

The type of treatments that are conducted depend very much on the type of surgery, the area of the body, the time since procedure and your normal level of function.

The most frequent surgery may involve:

Knee Surgery

  • Arthroscopy (clean-out operations).
  • Partial meniscectomy (removal of or tidy up of cartilage).
  • ACL reconstruction.
  • Total Knee Replacement.

Hip Surgery

  • Arthroscopy.
  • Total Hip Replacement.

Spinal Surgery

  • Discectomy (a proportion of the damaged disc is removed).
  • Spinal fusion (insertion of metalwork to stabilize the spine).
  • Spinal epidural (pain relief).

Shoulder Surgery

  • Acromioplasty (the undersurface of the collar bone is shaved to increase the space for thickened rotator cuff tendons).
  • Rotator cuff repair (torn muscles of the rotator cuff are re-attached).
  • Shoulder reconstructions (required when the shoulder has been repeatedly dislocated).

There are other types of general surgery which sometimes have secondary implications for the musculoskeletal system. These would include:

Although these relatively common procedure do not directly involve the musculoskeletal system there are sometimes secondary effects of stiffness and pain as a consequence of the procedures.

The physiotherapist will liase with the consultant surgeons to ensure that the specific rehabilitation protocol is followed. This information can influence the rehabilitation protocol and very importantly the timing of when different activities are introduced.