Rehabilitation and Recovery
However high a standard of care you receive, your body will need to heal after surgery and orthopaedic surgery is no exception; in fact, often it can take longer as the surgery tends to be more open and invasive. You can help this process by following the guidelines given to you by your specialist, looking after yourself and doing the exercises that you have been given.
How long will it take to recover?
This will depend hugely on your age, your overall health and risk factors such as your diet and how much exercise you do. If you eat healthily, don’t smoke and exercise regularly you should recover more quickly than if you smoke and do not exercise. As you get older your body recovers more slowly. You may be fully recovered in four to six weeks, but more complicated surgery can take three months to recover from. Every case is different, but your specialist will be able to give you a rough idea.
Below is a video of an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction performed by Mr Chan Jeer one week after surgery.
Do I need to change my lifestyle whilst I recover?
It is likely that you will need to have time off work to recover and will not be able to drive a vehicle for a period of time. You will need to rest and recover at home, and during this time you may need to make adjustments around the home if your mobility is affected.
How can I help my body to recover?
It is vital that you make sure you get lots of rest after your surgery. It will take a few days for the anaesthetic to leave your system, so during this period you will be very tired. Avoiding alcohol will help to boost your immune system and eating lots of fruit and vegetables will ensure that you have the vitamins and minerals you need. Once you are feeling better, you will be able to start moving around again and getting back to normal. Listen carefully to the advice given to you by your specialist. They will give you information on how best to look after your body post-surgery and ensure that you recover well.
What support will I receive?
Your specialist and their team should stay in touch with you after surgery to make sure that you are recovering properly. You will have a post-surgery consultation to make sure that the procedure was successful and to determine whether any further treatment is necessary. In some cases, you will not need to have any further treatment and can resume normal life. However, some people may need to take continuing medication or physiotherapy for a time to help adjust to life post-surgery.
What is rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is the process of adjustment that you go through after surgery. You may find that the part of your body that has been operated on feels different or works in a different way. You may experience pain or discomfort as you adjust, and this can sometimes need to be managed with medication. You will be given exercises to do at home to improve your mobility as you heal, but it is important not to overdo it as your body heals as you can damage delicate tissue if you overuse it before it is ready.
Sometimes surgery can only go some way to treating a condition. You may find that you still have mobility issues. In this case, your specialist should help to support you by suggesting services that might be useful, such as occupational therapy to ensure that you have everything you need to make home and work life as straightforward as possible. In some cases, you may need to have further surgery to fully correct an issue. This is something that you will discuss with your specialist once you have healed and undergone the recovery period.