Pre and postoperative

08 AugHow does exercise help Pre and Postoperative outcome measures?

Any major surgery is a serious decision for anyone and with an increasing elderly population, surgeries in later life are becoming more common. All surgeries carry with them the risk of making the patient vulnerable to reduced function and societal participation. Therefore, it is important that measures be put in place pre- and post-surgery to ensure that there is an increase in postoperative outcomes by improvements in functional status and a reduction in complications. One measure that can be implemented is exercise. A pre-operative exercise training program “Better in, Better out” perfectly encapsulates the benefits of exercise prior to surgery. So how does exercise help pre- and postoperative outcome measures?

Pre-surgery exercise is called prehabilitation and is primarily used to prepare the body for an upcoming stressful event, such as surgery. The goal of prehabilitation is to obtain a baseline of physical ability then improve upon this before surgery.  Prehabilitation may even increase the available surgical treatment options for high-risk individuals who would have otherwise not been eligible. One of the by-products of engaging in prehabilitation for surgery is creating a proactive culture and habits of movement that can be carried throughout the care process beyond the surgery.

Once surgery has been completed it is important to begin being as active as possible as immobilization during this phase has been associated with post-operative complications and poor functional outcomes. For the elderly the introduction of exercise early post operation demonstrated increases in physical fitness and a reduction in the number of transfers to nursing homes. For those with Total Hip Replacements and Total Knee Replacements research found that strength and functional training that was tailored to the individuals needs saw large improvements in postoperative recovery. With all these benefits of exercise, it is essential that you engage with a health professional who has the expertise to prescribe the exercise needed to help you on your journey. One such is an Exercise Physiologist, to find out more and how they can help you contact your local Exercise Physiologist.

Matthew Byrne – Exercise Physiologist