The decision to undergo surgical intervention involves both patient and surgeon. Once the decision has been made by the patient and agreed to by the surgeon, surgery will take place. Surgery has several risks that should be discussed at length and in detail between the patient and the surgeon. After the pre-surgery discussion, a form of consent to undergo the procedure is signed by the patient. During the surgery, the surgeon may feel that he or she did a great job, addressed and treated all pathology as much as possible, and ultimately helped alleviate the pain in the affected joint. If there is any hardware (implants of any sort), sutures, anchors, tacks or pins placed, then these were placed because the surgeon felt that they were needed in order to achieve a successful surgery: to help restore normal anatomy of the joint. The goal of the surgery is to increase function and to diminish pain.
The long-term risks and side effects of the surgery are stiffness, weakness and persistent pain. Therefore, even if the surgeon did a "great job", the joint may not function well without the patient's motivation and guided physical therapy.
In order to combat stiffness and weakness and to keep away the pain, a home exercise program is warranted. A stiff joint that is strong is not a functional joint. On the other hand, a joint with full motion but no strength is also not functional. The goal of postoperative and/or preventive therapy of the joints is to maintain a fully mobile joint that is strong. A mobile joint that has good muscle tone, endurance and conditioning may prevent pain from getting in the way of a healthy, active lifestyle. To this end, the POP-DOC home exercise program and program for joint preservation and rehabilitation are of utmost importance.
Occasionally, more than one surgical procedure is performed during a surgery. The most detailed, intricate, or involved procedure takes precedence in physical therapy and rehabilitation. The choice of physical therapy treatments, exercises and modalities will depend on the surgical procedure performed. In addition, prior to the start of exercises, a discussion with your physical therapist and/or surgeon should take place.