Five Tips to Optimize Your Orthopedic Surgery Outcomes

Is orthopedic surgery in your future? Studies show that the more work you put in BEFORE such a surgery — such as a hip or knee joint replacement or spine surgery — the better outcomes you’ll have.

Our experts with Memorial Orthopedic Services offer these five tips for preparing your body so that your surgery and overall recovery is optimized. The sooner you begin prior to your surgery date, the better (but it’s never too late!).

  •  Exercise. A proper exercise program will help you develop overall strength, stamina and flexibility — all key for your recovery. No matter where you are in your current physical health, you have the capability to improve your overall physical well-being. Make a personal commitment to begin a daily routine that includes exercise. Exercise once a day for 30 to 60 minutes, or break it up into smaller, 10-minute sessions several times throughout the day.
  • Eat well. Nutrition is very important to your overall health and plays a big role in wound healing and mobility after surgery. Start eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean meats.
  • Lose weight. Although we don’t advocate rapid weight loss, losing some of that extra weight prior to surgery is important. With a sensible diet and exercise program, strive to lose one to two pounds per week. Losing just five to 10 pounds prior to your surgery will make it considerably easier for you to move and participate in therapy following your surgery.
  • Visit your dentist. Check to be sure you are not experiencing an abscess or any type of infection in your mouth. Bacteria from these problems could get into the bloodstream and settle into the newly operated site following your surgery and cause an infection. Your dentist may be able to eliminate small infections quickly to avoid this complication.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk of infection after surgery and delays wound healing because nicotine narrows the blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood to healing tissues.

For those preparing for a hip or knee joint replacement or spine surgery, Memorial offers its First Steps class, designed to help patients and their families prepare mentally, medically and physically for their surgeries by addressing activity, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle choices.

“It gives them a chance to change a few things in their life – change a few things in their body – to improve their physical conditioning a bit and overall lead them to a better surgical outcome,” said Daniel Adair, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Springfield Clinic, medical director of Memorial Orthopedic Services and co-medical director of Memorial SportsCare. Dr. Adair recently discussed the First Steps program in depth with WTAX’s Bob Murray.

“Our overall goal is twofold: One, we want the surgery to be safer – we want you to get through the surgery itself without any complications. And two, we really want you to have a fabulous outcome. Not a ‘pretty good’ outcome, but a really great outcome.”

For more information on First Steps, which takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at SportsCare (located at the Kerasotes YMCA), or to register, call 757-4298.

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