physiotherapy after surgery

Recovering After Surgery With Physiotherapy

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Physiotherapy post surgery in the hospital and at Home

Physiotherapy after surgery is an integral part of treatment for patients who are or have been hospitalized as prolonged immobilization puts patients at risk for complications such as deconditioning, muscle weakness, myopathy and neuropathy, respiratory infections, and contractures. It is important for such patients to consider physiotherapy at home as an integral part of the recovery process.

The main aim of a physiotherapist is to assist your return to normal activities of daily living after hospitalisation. Physiotherapists typically help with many aspects of your treatment while in the intensive care unit (ICU) and will continue working with you when you transfer to a general ward until you leave hospital to go home. Even at home, in many cases a physiotherapy home care program can significantly aid the recovery of patient. ReLiva Physiotherapy's home care program is designed and our physiotherapists understand the requirements for post surgical/ post ICU patients

Our home visit physiotherapist will assess and treat neurological, musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory complications of the patients and help them in recovery. The physiotherapist is involved in specific patient positioning, suctioning, mobilization, ambulation, strengthening and balance exercises, passive range of motion exercises and airway clearance techniques.

As per Dr Farhad Kapadia, Consultant Physician, M.D, M.R.C.P, D.A (U.K.), E.D.I.C, FRCP: "Physiotherapy may be our best tool in getting the patient rapidly functional after a critical illness, and it needs to become an integral aspect of intensive care"

Benefits of physiotherapy:

  • Enables the patients to recover from the episodes of hospital as early as possible
  • Prevent post op complications
  • Teach the patient how to manage their own recovery post discharge
  • Facilitate safe and early discharge by reducing the length of stay in the hospital
  • Improves the quality of life

Physiotherapy helps in:

  • Improve the cardiovascular endurance
  • Improved performance of daily tasks
  • Improves the strength and endurance of the muscles
  • Improves the lung capacity
  • Makes the patient mobile and independent
  • Improves the airway clearance
  • Early mobilization of ventilated patients by a physiotherapist reduces mortality, and results in improved physical function and mobility

Physiotherapy post surgery:

The main aim is to return to the normal activities as early as possible.

Routine post operative physiotherapy intervention comprises of breathing exercises, circulatory exercises and early mobilisation to prevent complications and education in home management cardiovascular fitness, limiting restrictions due to medical procedure and

Positioning: To prevent complications like bedsores, congestion in the lungs, change of positions after regular intervals become important.

Chest PT:

  • Breathing exercises are important for the patient to reduce the chest infections and improve the air entry in the lungs. It also helps complete expansion of the thorax in order to have an effective breathing. Breathing exercises includes deep breathing exercises, segmental breathing exercises, thoracic expansion exercises, pursed lip breathing exercises and active cycle of breathing techniques.
  • Coughing huffing techniques where the patient is taught how to do forceful expiration by supporting the wound to get rid of the accumulated sputum actively
  • Airway clearance: physiotherapists help to clear the excess sputum by different techniques like positioning the patient, postural drainage, suctioning and use of different expiratory devices

Limb PT:

  • It is important to maintain blood circulation following surgery to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis due to immobility. Hence mobility exercises are important.
  • Also, it helps to improve and maintain the joint mobility and muscle strength which eventually gets deconditioned due to illness

Mobilisation:

  • Early mobilisation is a key factor in reducing post operative complications, enabling a quick recovery and timely discharge from hospital. Patient is assisted to get out of bed by physiotherapist on the day of your operation or the following day depending upon the type of the surgery. The final goal is to increase patients mobility making them independent and training stair climbing if required.

The above mentioned treatment principles were the general ones. But the treatments differs in different surgeries viz; orthopedic surgeries, abdominal surgeries, cardiothoracic surgeries, vascular surgeries, neuro surgeries.

To determine the treatment needs,the physiotherapist assesses the patients physical function including:

  • Pain, swelling, joint range of motion, muscle strength, muscle coordination, mobility status, balance, respiratory status and cardiovascular fitness in ortho surgeries
  • Pain, discrepancies in balance, coordination, muscle weakness and fatigue, work of breathing, and loss of range of movement, loss of cardiovascular fitness and mobility status in abdominal and cardiovascular surgeries
  • Pain, muscle tone, consciousness, orientation, work of breathing, balance and coordination, sitting and standing ability, synergy patterns, gait in neuro surgeries.

If you or your loved ones, have been recently discharged from the hospital after a long stay, the patient needs to continue supervised physiotherapy treatment to ensure complete recovery in the long term basis. Please feel free to give us a call and speak to our physiotherapists should you require any assistance.

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