Published on September 03, 2018

Prehab Primer

female physical therapist monitoring female patient riding stationary bikeIf joint replacement surgery is in your future, chances are a prehab program is, too. Short for prehabilitation, prehab helps get your body in the best shape possible before surgery for a faster recovery.

“The goal of North Kansas City Hospital’s prehab program is to optimize a person’s health before surgery,” said Jillian Knudsen, RN, MSN, the hospital’s orthopedic nurse navigator. “When you’re in good health before surgery, you reduce the risk of post-surgery complications, shorten your hospital stay and improve your overall recovery. Our goal is to send you directly home, where you feel more comfortable.”

Your Path to Prehab

At NKCH, people who choose to undergo total joint replacement surgery have a few options. Your surgeon can help you decide which option is best, depending on your surgery date and current health.

Pre-surgery conditioning. Ideally, all patients would complete the six-week pre-surgery conditioning class, Total Joint Replacement: Get a Head Start . The class meets two days a week and includes:

  • Low-impact strength building exercises (land and water), which help strengthen, tone and stretch muscles while increasing flexibility, stamina and range of motion
  • Sessions on goal setting, food logging, basic nutrition, and other health lifestyle and surgery-related topics
  • A preview of NKCH rehabilitation options after surgery

“The conditioning class is really important,” Knudsen said. “It familiarizes people with the total joint replacement process and gets their bodies ready for the physical therapy exercises they’ll be doing after surgery. It prepares them for what to expect.”

Pre-physical therapy or personal training. If your surgery date is fast approaching, NKCH offers outpatient physical therapy and personal training sessions to help prepare your body.

Nurse navigator. Knudsen primarily works with people who are 30-90 days out from surgery whose health may put them at a higher risk for post-surgery complications. “We try to identify some of the conditions and risk factors that lead to complications after surgery, such as tobacco use, excessive weight, pulmonary issues and sleep disorders,” she said. “If there is anything that puts the patient in a high-risk category, their surgeon can delay or cancel surgery so they have time to improve their health for better post-surgery outcomes.”

Our orthopedic surgeons perform more total joint replacement procedures than any other hospital in the area, so you can be confident you are in skilled, capable hands. We offer the full experience, from pre-surgery education to post-surgery rehabilitation. Explore our joint replacement program, and download our hip and knee replacement surgery guides.