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Patients Do Better After Surgery If They Do ‘Prehab’ First
National Public Radio

People are often told to follow a rehabilitation program following surgery to speed recovery. But starting weeks before going under the knife might help them regain function even faster.

So-called “prehabilitation” to prepare someone for an upcoming stressful event has been used quite a bit in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Julie Silver, a physiatrist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, tells Shots. And there’s increasing interest in using it before cancer treatment, especially to help frail or elderly patients better tolerate what lies ahead, she says.

Researchers from McGill University in Montreal studied 77 patients scheduled for colorectal cancer surgery. A kinesiologist gave the patients aerobic exercises and strength training to do at home. A registered dietitian gave them nutritional counseling and prescribed a whey supplement to make up any protein deficits, and a psychologist provided anxiety-reducing relaxation exercises.

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