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Pre-Hab (Pre-Operation Exercise)

Prehabilitation is the process of improving the functional capability of a patient before a surgical procedure. It is often seen as a way of preparing for the stresses and deconditioning that the upcoming surgery and period of forced inactivity will bring and a method of starting the recovery process pre-surgery.

While the need for rehabilitation after surgery is widely accepted, the importance of exercising before surgery (pre-op) has often been often overlooked.

In recent years there have been numerous studies on the effects of prehabilitation, particularly in the field of orthopaedics. Just some of the benefits demonstrated include increased strength, flexibility & range of motion, improved balance and proprioception, reduced pain and improved overall function. These benefits are important not just before surgery but in reducing post-operative complications and in making the post-operative rehabilitation easier.

Many specialists are now routinely referring patients for a course of prehab. It is especially important if there is a prolonged waiting period before surgery as is often the case in elective orthopaedic surgeries such as total knee or total hip replacement. This time, previously seen as wasted, can be used to best prepare both mentally and physically which will positively impact the recovery from surgery and subsequent rehabilitation.

A six week pre-op exercise program can increase muscle strength by 20%. This reduces the effects of muscle wasting following surgery, making standing, walking and getting out of bed or a chair much easier. It has also been shown to reduce the chances that you will require admission to an inpatient rehabilitation ward before being discharged home after surgery by 73%.

All of our patients will be given a personalised program after a thorough assessment, taking into account their history, current presentation,  planned surgery and individual goals. Most prehab programs will consist of land and / or water-based strengthening, flexibility and general fitness exercises and the recommendation is that they should be completed for 30 to 60 minutes, three times a week for at least six weeks prior to joint surgery.


Other benefits of a pre-op exercise program include:

  • Improved Balance – Reduces the risk of falls.

  • Weight Loss – Reduces stresses on your new joint and decreases the risk of it loosening.

  • Improved General Fitness

  • Familiarisation with the procedure, what to expect and with the exercises you will perform following surgery.


All this leads to a better outcome and reduced recovery time following your surgical procedure!

For more information on how 4 Life Physio Pinjarra can assist with your surgical rehabilitation contact us today.

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