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What is Prehabilitation?

Prehabilitation can be defined as the process of care, initiated before surgery, whereby patients’ physical, nutritional, medical and mental conditions are strengthened while waiting for surgery in order to face the surgical insult and facilitate postoperative return to preoperative conditions.

In 2010 we conceptualized the prehabilitation program and introduced it at the MUHC for specific surgical procedures. Over the last 6 years we have conducted several studies of the proof of concept.  The prehabilitation program is achievable and helps patients increase their functional capacity before surgery, thus shortening the recovery and accelerating the return to the preoperative conditions.

The program consists of a preoperative baseline medical assessment together with evaluation of physical strength and flexibility, nutrition and mental health. A personalized program is then prepared based on medical and pharmacological optimization, aerobic and resistance exercises, protein and energy supplementation, anti-anxiety strategies, glycemic control, and alcohol and smoking cessation.