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Prehabilitation gets patients ready before surgery

John Dickerson banged up his knee playing sports as a kid and is now paying for it.

John Dickerson

"I ignored it and now 25 years later it's time to get it fixed."

Dickerson will have total knee replacement surgery and isn't looking forward to the recovery process. That's why he enrolled in a research study at the University of Louisville called Prehabilitation. Karen Frost is a research associate and details the various aspects of the study.

Research Associate Karen Frost

"There's a therapy component, a medical component, exercise component, nutrition, and an engineering component. They all have a part."

The belief is that the better a person's physical condition is before surgery, the better a person will respond to rehab following the procedure.

Frost continues

"Elite athletes often do it themselves before surgery. They get into shape because they know after surgery they'll be down a bit… It makes sense to take those concepts and apply them to the rest of us."

Dickerson will go through an eight- week strength training program prior to surgery. He will be monitored by an eight-camera motion tracking system to gauge his movement. That allows researchers to see any unusual motions in his knees. He will then come back for testing up to three months following surgery to check progress on his rehab.

Dickerson adds

"This seems to make sense… I like watching games, but I want to get up on my feet and back to work as soon as I can."

The research includes nearly 100 subjects during a three-year period.

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