Friday, May 26, 2006

New surgery, different recovery

…Katherine Spitz, a Knight-Ridder reporter, talked to some post-op patients and found their recoveries not only varied widely from others’ but also from previous surgeries they had undergone.

…One woman jumped around like a cricket two weeks after her first knee replacement, but was limping over to physical therapy as often as possible with her second.

…One knee, a surgeon said, can have more scar tissue inside and more swelling, even when you do both at once.

…Younger males tend to have a harder time with knees, the doctor said. They may have more muscle to cut through.

…(He also observed that older women had been through a lot in life, but for younger men, this might be the worst thing that had happened to them yet. Yeah!)

…Speed of recovery is not linked to age, surprisingly. The patient’s general health going in can be significant, though. How much pain they feel on awakening can set a tone as to how much moving around and therapy they want to do.

…Depression can hit after surgery, especially heart surgery, and slow recovery.

…With hysterectomy, the willingness to uncoil and walk as soon as possible can speed recovery.

…Being a smoker slows recovery from most surgeries--although being a drinker has no real effect unless the liver is diseased.

…Here’s an idea: Stay out of the operating room if you can.

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