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When your body isn’t functioning optimally, sometimes surgery is necessary to repair the damage so you can live a better and longer life. When it’s the musculoskeletal system that is damaged, orthopaedic surgery is often the answer.

It’s vital that any patient closely abides by their doctor’s instructions before and after the procedure. This minimizes risk, increasing the chance of a successful surgery.

Prepare Your Home

For an outpatient procedure, the patient is discharged to their home immediately. An inpatient procedure gives the patient more time in a supervised environment to heal after surgery, but some recovery will need to be completed after they’re discharged. Regardless of when a patient returns home, the at-home recovery process can be much easier if the home is prepared accordingly. For example, if the patient can’t walk up steps or move far distances, all essentials should be within close range.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Pushing your body too far before you’re ready can cause problems. Having a supportive team of friends, family members and neighbors can make recovery much easier. Show appreciation, but don’t feel guilty. Take solace in knowing that you can help someone else in need next time you have the opportunity to pay it forward. Those who love you would rather do their part than see you uncomfortable.  

Follow Your Post-Op Plan

Your doctor will always give you a concrete plan to follow after surgery. This may include guidelines for your diet, medication and physical activity. Failing to follow the outlined plan could lead to delays in recovery or serious complications. Ask questions about any part of the plan you don’t understand so you know exactly how to optimize your recovery.

Stay Consistent with Physical Therapy

For nearly every orthopaedic surgery, physical therapy is an integral part of recovery. Your body needs practice before it can resume routine use. Your orthopaedic specialist and physical therapist will work with you, forming a sustainable plan to strengthen and stabilize the affected body part. Some of the therapy will be done in the physical therapist’s office, but you may have exercises to complete independently, as well. It’s important to always adhere to a regular schedule so you don’t fall behind in your recovery.

Be Honest with Your Medical Team

Your doctors and each member of their office is dedicated to your health and wellbeing. You know your body better than they do, so make sure you communicate any issues you’re having before they become more serious. Pain is an especially important symptom to note, but you should also mention anything that has changed in your mood, appetite, sleep schedule or overall health. The doctors can adjust your recovery plan accordingly and give you peace of mind.
Surgery and recovery aren’t most people’s definition of “fun,” but it’s a necessary process. Remembering that you’re not alone on the journey can make it easier to stay on schedule and help your body heal.