Thinking about having an operation!
Whether you’re thinking about having an operation, just about to have an operation or just had an operation, you’re probably wondering how long it’s going to take you to be able to do the things you want to do.
And the answer is….it depends.
There are several key factors that will determine how quickly you will be able to recover from an operation to your muscles, bones or joints (Usually called orthopaedic surgery, although sometimes will be labelled as neurological surgery because the surgery is performed by a nerve surgery specialist, often because the nerves are affected):
- The amount of tissue damage prior to operation
- The skill of the surgeon and medical team supporting you
- Your health and strength prior to operation
- How you manage the operated area immediately after surgery
- What you do or don’t do in the weeks and /or months after you’ve had the operation.
Some of these factors will largely depend on you and the way you you manage the situation and/or the people you enlist to help you. Here’s what you can do to recover as quickly as possible after surgery:
1. Tissue damage
Proper management of an injury goes a long way to minimising the damage to tissues. If you want more details about how to do this, download our tip sheet to help you get back on track so that you help your body to heal itself and prevent further tissue damage occurring.
2. Skill of your surgeon and his/her team
Surgeons, like any other skilled people, have varying degrees of expertise and different areas that they specialise in. If you have private health cover or intend to seek help through the private health care system, you will have a choice in the person and possibly even the hospital, in which you receive surgery. When you are searching for a suitable surgeon, ensure that they specialise in the area that you need to have surgery. Eg. If you have knee pain, it will be best for you to have the surgery done by a specialist who has a particular interest and lots of experience in knee surgery. If you want to have the top person to operate on you, you will probably need to get even more specific, and research their specific area of expertise within that field . eg. A knee surgeon who specialises in anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions in knees
3. The state of your health and strength immediately before you have surgery.
If you are not having surgery for at least a few weeks, it is worth taking up activities and eating well so that you are as healthy as possible prior to surgery. This can often mean losing weight if you are overweight, getting enough sleep, doing regular exercise if you are well enough to do this pre-operatively, eg. Walking, cycling or swimming; and getting as strong as possible before the operation. At Fit and Well Physiotherapy, our knowledge and skills will enable us to give you a comprehensive exercise plan and programme that will be suited to your specific injiury and current mobility and strength, with advice tailored to make your recovery before and after surgery as smooth and as easy as possible.
4. What to do in the days immediately before and after surgery
If you live on your own or have to look after others and are quite mobile before you have surgeryand will be home for at least a few days after the surgery, it is a good idea to prepare and freeze several meals and organise your home so important things are easily accessible from the bedside or wherever you plan to be recuperating after the surgery, and even consider removing rugs and things around that you could potentially slip or trip on. . Having at least 1-2 ice packs and/or hot packs or hot water bottles can be helpful to have ready prior to surgery if you do not already have these. If you are likely to need crutches it is a good idea to organise this and take them to the hospital with you, and if you see a physiotherapist prior to surgery, have them fit it to your size teach you how to use them properly. It would be handy to have a back pack so that you can easily carry items place to place as your arms will need to be available to use the crutches.
5. What you do or don’t do in the weeks and /or months after you’ve had the operation.
Ensure you minimise any swelling after the surgery. Make sure you follow the instructions of your surgeon and physiotherapist. At Fit and Well Physiotherapy, we will provide you with a comprehensive exercise plan and programme that will be suited to your specific injury at each stage of your healing process, and adapt it to suit current mobility and strength, with advice tailored to make your recovery before and after surgery as smooth and as easy as possible.