What Is Post Operative Rehabilitation?

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Written By Charlotte Miller

There’s more to recovering after surgery than the surgeon’s work. That’s critical, for sure, but your body needs more. First, you deal with whatever the reason was for your surgery. Whether it’s an acute injury or degenerative disease, something is seriously wrong for you to need an operation in the first place. Then, the surgery itself is an assault on your tissues. Every tissue layer, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and muscles get cut and often move about during the surgery. Then, afterwards, your tissues need to heal from both the initial problem and the surgery. So, it’s no wonder post operative rehabilitation is a good idea. 

Your post operative rehab starts with a thorough assessment. Your physical therapist considers your medical history, the nature of your operation, and your lifestyle. It makes sense that if you had ACL surgery on your knee and you’re a sports enthusiast, you’ll need different therapy from someone with a hip replacement to walk comfortably. So, every post operative rehabilitation program is based on individual needs. 

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Surgeon’s Recommendations After an Operation

Post operative rehabilitation physical therapy is a specialized type of physical therapy for those who undergo orthopedic surgery. Your surgeon will advise you to participate in physical therapy sessions for better results after your surgery. 

Physical therapists already understand the guidelines surgeons prescribe for each type of operation. A professional physiotherapist will treat your pain and other issues through specific rehab programs based on your situation. 

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What to Expect from Post Surgical Rehab

This challenging type of physical therapy is necessary after surgical procedures like: 

  • Cardiac
  • Thoracic
  • Orthopedic
  • Neurological
  • Abdominal
  • Spinal 
  • Urological
  • Obstetric  
  • Gynecological  
  • Breast 

Ultimately, physical therapy makes your recovery more comfortable and takes less time.

Skilled, experienced physical therapists offer a combination of post-surgery treatment programs to rehabilitate you based on your health circumstances. They advise and support every phase of your post surgical recovery. 

Specifically, physical therapy after surgery reduces your pain and swelling and increases your flexibility, strength, and mobility. Treatments also help improve your circulation, which helps speed healing, and respiratory problems. The treatments help you get back to your favorite daily activities.

Phases of Post Operative Rehabilitation Physical Therapy

Post operative rehabilitation physical therapy changes as you heal more after your surgery. Your therapist continually reassesses your condition to shift the treatments to the next phase at the right time. 

  • Phase #1 Early Recovery 

Soon after discharge, your surgeon will clear you to start physical therapy in Merrick, NY. The main focus is to reduce pain and swelling with gentle, hands-on manual therapy.  

  • Phase #2 Increase Strength and Range of Motion 

Soon, the focus shifts to normalizing your strength and ensuring you can move properly and keep your balance. Manual therapy continues, and you start targeted exercises to restore your range of motion.  

  • Phase #3 Functional Restoration  

The final phase includes a custom exercise program to maintain your wellness long-term.


After surgery, your surgeon will prescribe physical therapy to complete your recovery. Contact an experienced Merrick knee pain therapist, like those at Summit P.T. in Merrick, NY, to get back to your painless and healthy lifestyle.