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Why cancelled surgery could be a blessing

Has your elective bone or joint surgery just been cancelled because of the current health crisis? Read on to find out why this might just be a blessing in disguise!

Elective surgery for bone and joint problems has been cancelled indefinitely in New South Wales as of last week. That means knee and hip replacements, ACL repairs, knee scopes for meniscal tears, shoulder surgery for things like impingement and rotator cuffs, and ankle surgery, all cancelled, except for emergencies.

If you were due to have any of these types of procedures, I understand you must be very disappointed. You’ve seen your GP, had the X-rays and scans, waited a few weeks to see a specialist, booked in for your op, dealt with your health fund, sorted out time off work, and then it’s pulled out from underneath you.

You know, I can really sympathize with you. I was lucky enough to get in and have a shoulder reconstruction and screws put in a broken shoulder a month ago after a fall skiing. But my eldest daughter was due to have an ACL reconstruction in her knee last week, until we got a phone call from the specialist days before her planned operation . This has put her plans for uni, getting back to netball, and snow skiing on hold for who knows how long. I get it, it’s really frustrating, not knowing how long you have to wait. And yes, we did have a pretty ordinary ski holiday didn’t we?

But what if I was to tell you that having a surgery cancelled might just be the best thing that could have happened to you? Stick with me, I haven’t gone crazy. There’s good scientific evidence to show that spending time before your surgery on preparing the muscles and joints properly can do two things.

First, this prep, which we call prehab, has you much better prepared for your surgery and the recovery to come afterwards. By getting a head start, getting stronger, better balance, better range of movement, you bounce back quicker after your surgery. You have less pain, and you return to normal daily activities quickly, more quickly than someone who doesn’t do this important work.

Second, some of you will get so much better that you cancel your surgery. That’s right, if you start and finish the right program of hands-on physio, and more importantly, exercise therapy, there’s evidence that some of you will cancel your knee scopes, or your hip replacement or knee replacement operation.

Many of you having these operations have never done any formal rehab or exercise, and some have gone straight from anti-inflammatory tablets to major surgery, missing out on the benefits of strength, stability, and pain relief that exercise can provide.

Did that info blow your mind? It’s common knowledge among physios and exercise physiologists. It’s what we do every single day. We help active people like you prepare for surgery, and then recover afterwards, so you get back to doing the things you love.

Education is a massive part of our culture here at Parkside. We’d love it if you could share this message with someone you know. Might be someone you play sport with who needs an ankle ligament reconstruction, it could be an elderly relative who was lined up for a joint replacement soon. Feel free to forward this email to them, I’d really appreciate it. And they’ll get something out of it too.

Whatever you do, please don’t put your health on hold because your surgery has been cancelled with no plan moving forward. Staying active and performing regular exercise can provide the benefits I outlined above, but is also vital for our physical health and importantly our mental health.

If you’ve got any questions about how our physios or exercise physiologists could help you or someone you love get some relief before surgery, or avoid it altogether, simply reply to this email and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

At the moment, we’re being agile, and working with the current health situation to deliver rehab in the way that suits you best. These are the ways we are delivering our services

  • We are continuing to see you in person here in our clinic in Engadine. We are using the cleaning, disinfection and social isolation guidelines laid down by the WHO, Australian and NSW Government and NSW Physiotherapy Council to ensure your safety and ours.
  • We can come to you at your home. We have been providing home and nursing home Physiotherapy visits weekly for 20 years, and we can also provide at-home Exercise Physiology consultations for 1-on-1 rehab
  • We are also able to see you for Virtual Physio or Exercise Physiology or by video one to one or in small exercise classes.

So no matter your current situation, we can work with you to find the best way to help you out. If you’d like to find out more, again, just reply to this email or call our Front Desk team on 9548 3372 and we’ll do our very best to help you.