Health Topics

Surgery and rehabilitation

Heart Surgery
National Library of Medicine
Cardiac Surgery
Open Heart Surgery

Heart surgery can correct problems with the heart if other treatments haven't worked or can't be used. The most common type of heart surgery for adults is coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected, or grafted, to a blocked coronary (heart) artery.

Doctors also use heart surgery to:

  • Repair or replace heart valves, which control blood flow through the heart
  • Repair abnormal or damaged structures in the heart
  • Implant medical devices that help control the heartbeat or support heart function and blood flow
  • Replace a damaged heart with a healthy heart from a donor
  • Treat heart failure and coronary heart disease
  • Control abnormal heart rhythms

Heart surgery has risks, even though its results often are excellent. Risks include bleeding, infection, irregular heartbeats, and stroke. The risk is higher if you are older or a woman. The risk is also higher if you have other diseases or conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, or peripheral arterial disease.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Cardiac Surgical Procedures
Blood, Heart and Circulation
Surgery and Rehabilitation
Heart surgery can correct problems with the heart if other treatments haven't worked or can't be used. The most common type of heart surgery for adults is ...
Rehabilitation
National Library of Medicine
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
Rehab
What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is care that can help you get back, keep, or improve abilities that you need for daily life. These abilities may be physical, mental, and/or cognitive (thinking and learning). You may have lost them because of a disease or injury, or as a side effect from a medical treatment. Rehabilitation can improve your daily life and functioning.

Who needs rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is for people who have lost abilities that they need for daily life. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Injuries and trauma, including burns, fractures (broken bones), traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke
  • Severe infections
  • Major surgery
  • Side effects from medical treatments, such as from cancer treatments
  • Certain birth defects and genetic disorders
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Chronic pain, including back and neck pain
What are the goals of rehabilitation?

The overall goal of rehabilitation is to help you get your abilities back and regain independence. But the specific goals are different for each person. They depend on what caused the problem, whether the cause is ongoing or temporary, which abilities you lost, and how severe the problem is. For example,:

  • A person who has had a stroke may need rehabilitation to be able to dress or bathe without help
  • An active person who has had a heart attack may go through cardiac rehabilitation to try to return to exercising
  • Someone with a lung disease may get pulmonary rehabilitation to be able to breathe better and improve their quality of life
What happens in a rehabilitation program?

When you get rehabilitation, you often have a team of different health care providers helping you. They will work with you to figure out your needs, goals, and treatment plan. The types of treatments that may be in a treatment plan include:

  • Assistive devices, which are tools, equipment, and products that help people with disabilities move and function
  • Cognitive rehabilitation therapy to help you relearn or improve skills such as thinking, learning, memory, planning, and decision making
  • Mental health counseling
  • Music or art therapy to help you express your feelings, improve your thinking, and develop social connections
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Occupational therapy to help you with your daily activities
  • Physical therapy to help your strength, mobility, and fitness
  • Recreational therapy to improve your emotional well-being through arts and crafts, games, relaxation training, and animal-assisted therapy
  • Speech-language therapy to help with speaking, understanding, reading, writing and swallowing
  • Treatment for pain
  • Vocational rehabilitation to help you build skills for going to school or working at a job

Depending on your needs, you may have rehabilitation in the providers' offices, a hospital, or an inpatient rehabilitation center. In some cases, a provider may come to your home. If you get care in your home, you will need to have family members or friends who can come and help with your rehabilitation.


Rehabilitation
Surgery and Rehabilitation
... your daily life and functioning.Who needs rehabilitation? Rehabilitation is for ... Major surgery Side effects from medical treatments, such as from ...
Cardiac Rehabilitation
National Library of Medicine
Heart Diseases--Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a medically supervised program to help people who have:

  • A heart attack
  • Angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting for coronary heart disease
  • A heart valve repair or replacement
  • A heart transplant or a lung transplant
  • Angina
  • Heart failure

The goal is to help you return to an active life, and to reduce the risk of further heart problems. A team of specialists will create a plan for you that includes exercise training, education on heart healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress. You will learn how to reduce your risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, depression, and diabetes. Being overweight, having obesity, smoking, and not exercising are other risk factors.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Cardiac Rehabilitation
Blood, Heart and Circulation
Surgery and Rehabilitation
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a medically supervised program to help people who have: A heart attack Angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting for coronary ...
Knee Replacement
National Library of Medicine
Arthroplasty
Knee arthroplasty
What is knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is a surgery to replace parts of your knee joint with new, artificial parts. You may need a knee replacement if you have knee damage that causes severe pain and difficulty doing daily activities, such as walking and climbing stairs. It is usually done when other treatments for knee pain haven't helped enough. The goal of a knee replacement is to relieve pain and help you move better.

People of all ages may have knee replacement surgery. But it is more common in older people. The decision whether to have surgery is based on your overall health and how much your knee bothers you.

What conditions does knee replacement surgery treat?

Knee replacement surgery treats conditions that cause the cartilage of the knee joint to wear away. These include:

  • Knee osteoarthritis. This is the most common reason for knee replacement surgery. It usually develops over time after an injury or with aging.
  • Knee damage from other types of arthritis.
  • Problems from knee joints that aren't formed correctly.
What happens during knee replacement surgery?

During the surgery, a surgeon removes damaged cartilage and some bone from the surfaces of your knee joint. Cartilage is tissue that covers your bones where they meet. Healthy cartilage is smooth and helps the bones glide over each other when you move. When cartilage becomes rough and wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing pain.

After removing the damaged knee cartilage and bone, the surgeon attaches the artificial parts to your bones. The artificial parts are made of metal and plastic. They will give your knee new, smooth surfaces.

Knee replacement surgery may replace all the damaged parts of your knee (total knee replacement) or just part of your knee (partial knee replacement). In a total knee replacement, the surgeon replaces 3 surfaces:

  • The end of the shinbone
  • The end of the thighbone
  • The back of the kneecap
What happens after knee replacement surgery?

Some people go home the same day they have surgery. Other people will stay in the hospital a few days. To help prevent blood clots, you'll most likely take blood thinners and wear special socks or coverings on your legs for a short time after surgery.

The success of your surgery depends a lot on what you do at home to help yourself recover. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to make your knee stronger and help it bend. It is important to do these exercises regularly. You may need to use a cane or walker for several weeks after the surgery. It will probably also be several weeks before you can drive. Your doctor will tell you when you can start driving again.

Most people who follow their recovery instructions can get back to nearly all of their normal daily activities within 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.

What is life like after a knee replacement?

After recovering from surgery, most people can move better with less pain than before surgery. But having an artificial knee is not the same as having a normal, healthy knee.

You need to protect your new knee by:

  • Staying at a healthy weight.
  • Getting regular physical activity.
  • Not doing any high-impact activities, such as jogging, running, and jumping. Instead, you can try low-impact activities that are good for your knee, such as walking, biking, and swimming
What are the risks of knee replacement surgery?

The chance of having problems after knee replacement surgery is low. But there are risks after any surgery. Possible problems after knee replacement surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage
  • Scarring that limits how far you can bend your knee

Your age, general health, and how active you are can all affect your risk of having a problem after knee replacement surgery.

How long does a knee replacement last?

A knee replacement doesn't last forever. After 15 to 20 years, the artificial knee parts may become loose or worn. If that happens, you may need another surgery on the same knee.

If you're thinking about having knee replacement surgery, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. Together you can decide if a knee replacement is right for you.


Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Surgery and Rehabilitation
What is knee replacement surgery? Knee replacement surgery is a surgery to replace parts of your knee joint with new, artificial parts. You may need a ...
Laser Eye Surgery
National Library of Medicine
LASIK
LTK
PRK
Keratectomy

For many people, laser eye surgery can correct their vision so they no longer need glasses or contact lenses. Laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. This changes its focusing power.

There are different types of laser eye surgery. LASIK - laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis - is one of the most common. Many patients who have LASIK end up with 20/20 vision. But, like all medical procedures, it has both risks and benefits. Only your eye doctor can tell if you are a good candidate for laser eye surgery.


Corneal Surgery, Laser
Eyes and Vision
Surgery and Rehabilitation
For many people, laser eye surgery can correct their vision so they no longer need glasses or contact lenses. Laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea, the ...
Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery
National Library of Medicine
Body Contouring
Breast Implants
Breast Reduction
Cosmetic Surgery
Surgery, Plastic

Surgeons can reshape the appearance of body parts through cosmetic surgery. Some of the most common body parts people want to improve through surgery include:

  • Breasts: Increase or reduce the size of breasts or reshape sagging breasts
  • Ears: Reduce the size of large ears or set protruding ears back closer to the head
  • Eyes: Correct drooping upper eyelids or remove puffy bags below the eyes
  • Face: Remove facial wrinkles, creases or acne scars
  • Hair: Fill in balding areas with one's own hair
  • Nose: Change the shape of the nose
  • Tummy: Flatten the abdomen

Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
Surgery and Rehabilitation
Surgeons can reshape the appearance of body parts through cosmetic surgery. Some of the most common body parts people want to improve through surgery include: ...
Hip Replacement
National Library of Medicine
Arthroplasty
Hip arthroplasty
Hip prosthesis

Hip replacement is surgery for people with severe hip damage. The most common cause of damage is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. It can interfere with your daily activities. If other treatments such as physical therapy, pain medicines, and exercise haven't helped, hip replacement surgery might be an option for you.

During a hip replacement operation, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from your hip joint and replaces them with new, man-made parts.

A hip replacement can:

  • Relieve pain
  • Help your hip joint work better
  • Improve walking and other movements

The most common problem after surgery is hip dislocation. Because a man-made hip is smaller than the original joint, the ball can come out of its socket. The surgery can also cause blood clots and infections. With a hip replacement, you might need to avoid certain activities, such as jogging and high-impact sports.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases


Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Surgery and Rehabilitation
Hip replacement is surgery for people with severe hip damage. The most common cause of damage is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes pain, swelling, and ...
Stroke Rehabilitation
National Library of Medicine

A stroke can cause lasting brain damage. People who survive a stroke need to relearn skills they lost because of the damage. Rehabilitation can help them relearn those skills.

The effects of a stroke depend on which area of the brain was damaged. The types of disabilities a stroke can cause include:

  • Paralysis or problems controlling movement
  • Pain and other problems with the senses
  • Problems using or understanding language
  • Problems with thinking and memory
  • Emotional disturbances

Stroke rehabilitation involves many kinds of health professionals. The goal is to help stroke survivors become as independent as possible and to have the best possible quality of life.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Stroke Rehabilitation
Brain and Nerves
Surgery and Rehabilitation
A stroke can cause lasting brain damage. People who survive a stroke need to relearn skills they lost because of the damage. Rehabilitation can help them ...
After Surgery
National Library of Medicine
Postoperative Care
Recovery from surgery

After any operation, you'll have some side effects. There is usually some pain with surgery. There may also be swelling and soreness around the area that the surgeon cut. Your surgeon can tell you which side effects to expect.

There can also be complications. These are unplanned events linked to the operation. Some complications are infection, too much bleeding, reaction to anesthesia, or accidental injury. Some people have a greater risk of complications because of other medical conditions.

Your surgeon can tell you how you might feel and what you will be able to do - or not do - the first few days, weeks, or months after surgery. Some other questions to ask are:

  • How long you will be in the hospital
  • What kind of supplies, equipment, and help you might need when you go home
  • When you can go back to work
  • When it is ok to start exercising again
  • Are they any other restrictions in your activities

Following your surgeon's advice can help you recover as soon as possible.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


Postoperative Complications
Postoperative Care
Surgery and Rehabilitation
After any operation, you'll have some side effects. There is usually some pain with surgery. There may also be swelling and soreness around the area that the ...
Weight Loss Surgery
National Library of Medicine
Bariatric Surgery
Gastric Bypass
Gastroplasty
Obesity Surgery
Stomach Stapling
Bypass surgery
Gastric banding

Weight loss surgery helps people with extreme obesity to lose weight. It may be an option if you cannot lose weight through diet and exercise or have serious health problems caused by obesity.

There are different types of weight loss surgery. They often limit the amount of food you can take in. Some types of surgery also affect how you digest food and absorb nutrients. All types have risks and complications, such as infections, hernias, and blood clots.

Many people who have the surgery lose weight quickly, but regain some weight later on. If you follow diet and exercise recommendations, you can keep most of the weight off. You will also need medical follow-up for the rest of your life.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Bariatric Surgery
Obesity
Obesity, Morbid
Digestive System
Surgery and Rehabilitation
Metabolic Problems
Weight loss surgery helps people with extreme obesity to lose weight. It may be an option if you cannot lose weight through diet and exercise or have serious ...