News article

Get healthy before surgery to recover early, study

Posted:  Friday, October 31, 2014

The general tendency is to get done with a surgery and then follow a rehabilitation regime to boost convalescence. However, a recent study has found that following a regimented conditioning, nutritional routine and opting for a relaxation programme before surgery is more helpful for recovery.

The study, published in the Anesthesiology journal, found that colorectal cancer patients participating in a "pre-rehabilitation" programme before surgery recovered more quickly than those who only underwent traditional rehabilitation post surgery.

The study was a randomised controlled trial in which 38 patients participated in the pre-rehabilitation programme for 24.5 days, whereas 39 patients underwent postsurgical rehabilitation only. Post surgery, both the groups followed the same rehabilitation programme. The pre-rehabilitation programme included the following:

1. 50 minutes of home-based unsupervised aerobic and resistance training exercise at least three days a week

2. An individualized nutrition programme and whey protein supplementation

3. Consultation with a psychologist to learn ways to reduce anxiety through relaxation exercises based on imagery and visualisation and breathing exercises

Before the start of the study, the researchers measured how far the patients could walk in six minutes. They noted no significant difference between the two groups, 421 metres on average in the pre-rehabilitation group, and 425 metres on average in the postsurgical rehabilitation-only group.

They repeated the walking test again right before surgery and at four and eight weeks after surgery. They found that patients in the pre-rehabilitation group improved significantly, walking an average of 25.2 metres farther just before surgery than they had at the start of the study. In contrast, those in the postsurgical rehabilitation-only group exhibited diminished activity, walking an average of 16.4 metres less. Eight weeks after the surgery, the pre-rehabilitation group patients walked an average of 23.2 metres farther than at the start of the study, while the rehabilitation-only patients fared worse, walking an average of 21.8 metres less.

Speaking about the study, the researchers said, “Even when there are no complications, colorectal cancer surgery patients suffer from a 20 to 40 percent reduction in functional capacity after surgery. Pre-rehabilitation prepares patients to withstand the stress of surgery so they are able to recover faster and function better after the procedure. Instituting pre-rehabilitation before surgery when possible could improve health and recovery and reduce costs."

The study link - Click Here!