Preparing yourself before a joint replacement surgery is the best way to improve your chances of early recover. We often witness that some patients get back to their normal routine in a few days and weeks while some take longer.We have seen patients who come mentally and physically ready for surgery recover faster. As a use case, I would like to mention about Mrs, Priti Thakkar a patient of mine, who, against my advice, started traveling from Navi Mumbai to Bandra via public transport with a Knee Replacement Surgery. Yet she did not have any complications. I believe this is due to the fact that she is a physically fit lady (being an,ex-police personal) and had come mental prepared for the knee surgery. In fact, she was convinced that the surgery will make her life better. Eventually, she flew to US braving the long hours on plane. She is one of the outlier cases. However, this does not mean that you cannot achieve early recovery.
Here are some suggestions on how you can prepare for a joint knee replacement surgery and have a successful and early recovery.
Improving your Physical Strength:
- Quit Smoking & Drinking: Yes! You have been told this a million times and have ignored it time and again. The fact is,even if you don’t do any other preparation for your surgery. Just by hold it out the smoking and drinking atleast for 15-20 day before surgery & a few months after surgery, you can significantly decrease your post-surgery recovery time. You can read more about this at the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
- Strengthen you muscles:The muscles hold your bone together and these muscles will have to work overtime to not only to overcome post- trauma surgery but also to hold the new implant in place, during and after the healing period. Healthy people generally have healthier muscles and tend to recover faster. Its best to ask your orthopaedic to suggest exercises for strengthening knee, hip, shoulder elbow muscles depending on the surgery recommended.
- Lose Weight (If required): This is only for people who are overweight. Always ask your doctor if shedding some excess weight can help in post surgery recover. Especially if you have to undergo a knee or hip replacement surgery. Knee joint bears the load of 2-4 times a person’s body weight while walking or running. A reduction in body weight can help reduce the work your muscles have to do as was highlighted in this research by Dr. Stephen P. Messier
- Get your C &D in place: Generally, for joint replacements there are no food restrictions, but it pays to opt for a balanced HELATHY diet. Ofcourse, a diet that help support your body healing process is a bonus.
- Vitamin C: Studies have shown that post-surgery Vitamin C requirement of body increases Hence, it pays to start increasing your vitamin C before surgery by eating fruits and vegetables like Orange, Strawberries, Papaya, Peas, Caulifloweretc.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20689415)
- Vitamin D: Studies have shown that vitamin D helps in functional recovery in joint replacement patients. Vitamin D plays a vita-role in strengthening the bone as it helps in in calcium absorption of the bones. There is no better way to get vitamin D naturally than to spend time under the sun. If you go for a ½ hr to 1hr walk in the morning sun
Improving your Mental State:
- Askyour doctor, everything about your Surgery from your Doctor: The more you know about your surgery &more doubts you clear with your doctor, the less anxiety you have and the better prepared you are. There is no such thing as a stupid question. I have personally seen that patient who ask me the most questions are the ones who are better prepared for the surgery and recovery. Such patients know exactly what is happening and know what they will be able to do and not do before-hand.
- Control your Anxiety: Most patients get anxious by the shear thought of surgery.Most of the anxiety is about the post-surgery pain. Yes in some joint replacement some amount of pain is expected but with latest advancements in surgical techniques the changes of excruciating pain that will make you regret the decision is negligible. You can read and see the many patient review of my patients.
- Plan you trips: Even though most patients want to overcome constant and severe pain that they have had for months. It pays to re-plan that trip which you could not enjoy last time. Like for Mrs. Priti, she wanted to go and visit her son in USA.
I do hope this article helps you some insight on how to prepare yourself. If you found this article helpful please do share it so it may help other as well. Also remember that this article for information only. We highly recommend that you consult with your orthopedic surgeon before improving on it.
I wish you a happy and safe recovery. If you have any query do drop in a word at firstname.lastname@example.org