Dr. Laura Matsen Ko: Four Lifestyle Habits That Give You a Better Surgical Outcome

Dr. Laura Matsen Ko: Four Lifestyle Habits That Give You a Better Surgical Outcome

As a hip and knee specialist, my goal is to provide the safest and most effective surgical care for my patients with arthritis. While much of the outcome depends on our surgical team, there are at least four important steps patients can take before surgery to improve the chances of achieving the best possible result. The importance of these steps has been repeatedly demonstrated by published research.

As a former collegiate athlete, I view these steps as being similar to my preparation for a major competition.

Here are some of the guidelines that I have prepared for my patients.

Get strong: Pre-surgical Physical Therapy

Build muscle in the operative limbLearn exercises before surgery that will be necessary after surgery – build muscle memoryPractice using a walker or crutches to speed early post-operative mobilization

Get trim: Gradual Weight Loss if Applicable


Less body weight on a new joint

Allows for less inflammation and faster healingLowers risk of wound healing complicationsLowers risk of component instabilityLowers risk of fractureLowers risk of falling


Get aerobic: Moving and Exercising

Walking, water exercises, swimming, stationary cycling and rowing may be well tolerated even with an arthritic joint. Getting your heart rate up for 15 to 30 minutes each day will improve your fitness for surgery

Get rid of bad habits: Importance of Quitting Smoking

If you quit smoking three months pre-op it can lower the risk of infectionQuitting promotes wound, bone and tendon healing and decreases risk of surgical infection

Bottom line: getting in the best possible shape before surgery will help you achieve the best and safest result from your surgery.

If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, let us know: (206) 386-2600

-Laura Matsen Ko, M.D.

See Dr. Matsen Ko’s webpage, here.