Optimization of surgical outcomes with prehabilitation

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 Sep;40(9):966-9. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0084. Epub 2015 May 13.


The concept of preparing surgical candidates with various modalities designed to increase physical, physiological, metabolic, and psychosocial reserves is known as prehabilitation. Prehabilitation has garnered significant attention in recent years as evidence grows describing benefits to clinical and quality of life outcomes. Recent research examining hospital length of stay and readmission rates provides promising findings with respect to the value of prehabilitation in economic and sustainable healthcare models. The role of prehabilitation across the surgical experience exploits common surgical wait-times and the teachable moment that many patients experience upon the identification of a surgical requirement to improve the pre-, peri-, and postoperative experience. Prehabilitation incorporates numerous systemic and regional approaches to conditioning the surgical candidate. These include exercise, nutrition, education, and/or psychosocial approaches that are intended to improve preoperative fitness and preparedness. Importantly, this also promotes and facilitates health behaviour changes not only preoperatively but during the postoperative period and over the long-term. In this paper, we briefly review the historical and current perspectives on prehabilitation and comment on opportunities for greater clinical and empirical understanding in this field.

Keywords: chirurgie; exercice physique; exercise; post-operative recovery; prehabilitation; préadaptation; rehabilitation; réadaptation; récupération postopératoire; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Patient Readmission
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome