Although medical technology continues to get better, there’s no guarantee that your surgery will go exactly as expected. However, if you know how to prepare for surgery and are aware of the potential obstacles in your way of success, we’re confident that you will have a great chance at making a full recovery post-op. Below, we share five common pitfalls that can derail your chance at a successful rehab so you an avoid them following spine, brain or another type of surgical operation.
Keeping Your Recovery On Track
Here are some ways to ensure your recovery stays on track following a neurosurgery operation.
1. Get Healthy Before Surgery – In the days and weeks leading up to your operation, try to eat healthy and get regular exercise. Not only will this help you get closer to a healthy weight, which can help to prevent complications during the operation, but it will also help you develop healthy habits that will be necessary for a successful rehab. Research has shown that people who jump into physical therapy before their operation are more likely to follow through with their sessions after surgery, so consider picking up some targeted exercises prior to your operation.
2. Managing Expectations – Another reason why a patient’s rehab can get off course is because they had unrealistic expectations for how their recovery would progress. Surgery can help fix a problem, but it’s going to take time and work to get back to full health. There’s no magic wand we can wave to restrengthen your spine or ensure you’re back to work in two weeks. We’ll try to lay out our expectations as clearly as possible, but know that things don’t always stay on track and that getting frustrated with your rehab is only going to make it harder for you to recover.
3. Too Active, Too Quick – When it comes to your rehab, there needs to be a delicate balance of challenging your body to help it get stronger as it recovers without overdoing it and re-injuring your surgically fixed structures. We’ll help you with a timeline, but stick to your doctor’s instructions. Don’t up your workload or physical intensity without first running it by your doctor, otherwise you can end up right back at square one.
4. Over-reliance on Passive Treatments – We understand that your energy levels may be low and activity may be uncomfortable, but it’s important that you partake in active post-op recovery treatments instead of just relying on rest and time to heal your wounds. The first weeks after your surgery are a critical time for preventing the onset of scar tissue and regaining range of motion in the area, and painkillers and rest will do little to help. Make sure you’re doing things like physical therapy, stretching, walking and other approved activities that will help with your rehab.
5. Poor Wound Management – Finally, you also need to make sure that you’re caring for your surgical site during your recovery. Avoid getting your dressing wet and change your bandages regularly. Heed your doctor’s instructions when it comes to bathing and keep an eye out for signs of an infection. Contact your surgeon if you notice any oddly colored discharge or experience fevers or feel lightheaded.
For more tips, or if you’ve been told you need neurosurgery, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today to see how we can help.