Everyone is familiar with rehabilitation after surgery, but what about the term prehabilitation?
Prehab is defined as what a patient might do to prepare for his or her surgery weeks before it takes place. A recent study shows that there are benefits to this practice including faster recovery and the ability to function better after surgery.
The benefits of prehab were revealed during a study done by McGill University in Montreal earlier this year. The survey involved the monitoring of 77 patients that received colorectal cancer surgery. To prehab, or prepare for their surgery, half of the patients were given a plan for 50 minutes of exercise three days a week by a kinesiologist. The group also received counseling and protein supplements from a dietician, as well as anxiety-reducing exercises from a psychologist to follow pre-surgery. The majority of the patients began their prehab program 25 days before their surgeries.
Both groups were tested at the start of the program and measured for how far they could walk in six minutes. All patients walked about the same distance, but when the test was repeated before surgery, the survey uncovered that patients in the prehab group walked significantly further than those in the rehab only group.
Two months after their surgeries, the rehab-only patients walked an average of 60 feet less than when they first started the study, while prehab patients walked an average of 60 feet further.
The stress of surgery, anesthesiology, medications and other factors are hard on the body,” said Dr. Kevin Silver. “There’s definitely a focus on rehab, but the idea of prehab is smart. Anyone who prepares beforehand by exercising or practicing some of the techniques revealed in this study should fare better than someone who doesn’t do anything at all.”
For more information on this study’s findings, click here to read NPR’s coverage.