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Physical Fitness Preparation Before Surgery Can Shorten Hospital Stays [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 14, 2017 10:03 AM EDT

A team of surgeons in Michigan developed a program that would help patients physically and emotionally in preparation for surgery. It could lead to faster recovery and shorter hospital stays.

Proponents of the program argue that patients benefit from training their body prior to a surgical procedure, just like how an athlete would prepare for a triathlon, for example. Undergoing this medical intervention is no trivial matter especially operations on the liver, gastrointestinal, thoracic surgeries, organ transplants and the like.

The surgeons found that the strength of psoas muscle which acts as the primary flexor of the hip joint is of particular importance. Patients with unhealthy psoas often do not do well after some types of surgery. As such, the doctors thought a training program in preparation for surgery could give some advantages including hospital days cut short.

The findings from a study published in Surgery suggested that a seven-day hospital stay could be reduced to just five on the average when patients receive training for fitness and wellness prior to surgery. It has an impact on the medical costs, too. It could reduce expenses by up to 30 percent-a positive news to patients and providers. What's more, the patients' compliance rate was higher than how patients would normally do with doctors' orders.

University of Michigan surgeons equate the Michigan Surgical and Health Optimization Program (MSHOP) which was established five years ago to prehab, a training program designed to prevent injury in sports. It involves coaching on proper diet, stress management, quitting smoking and exercising. Patients are urged to engage in light physical activities such as walking and they receive reminders to do so on a daily basis.

One of the problems that impede the spread and growth of the program is that it may add more work to already busy surgeons in particular. Dr. Michael Englesbe, an author of the research explained that problems in the wider implementation could be overcome when this service becomes billable, the EurekAlert reported.

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