Recovery differs for surgical approach and location
Recovery timelines differ based on surgical location, technique, patient-specific characteristics, and surgeon. It is important to have a physical therapist work with you through your recovery to reduce the risk of post-operative complications and scar tissue build-up. Additionally, physical therapy will be critical to regain strength and range of motion, allowing you to return back to your everyday activities.
Recovery from an arthroscopic surgery usually requires a shorter course of physical therapy and recovery time compared to the open surgery. The open surgery is more extensive leading to a higher probability for postoperative stiffness and may require a longer recovery time to get back to normal everyday activities-- possibly taking several months. Compared with an open surgery, arthroscopic surgeries require shorter hospital stays, shorter recovery time, and more conservative operational techniques. However, this approach is not always useful with multiple, diffuse, or recurrent tumors. The decision on the surgical approach should be made by you and your healthcare team based on your TGCT history, patient characteristics, and surgeon's expertise. Surgery outcomes vary from patient to patient.
Following surgery, a postoperative monitoring plan may be implemented to detect any recurrence. The duration and intervals of this monitoring can differ based on TGCT type, patient characteristics, and prior recurrence. Generally, diffuse TGCT patients are checked annually for 5 years while localized TGCT patients may not require monitoring.
While surgery approach and location can differ from patient-to-patient, the need for physical therapy is consistent. Physical therapy is used to improve post-operative movement and manage pain. Physical Therapy can be used pre-operatively or post-operatively with benefits seen in both situations. Often times, physical therapy is started within 1-2 days following an operation. The duration of time a patient spends in physical therapy can differ drastically based on incision size (arthroscopic vs open surgery) and location. In major joints like the hip and knee, regaining range-of-motion post-operatively is essential (1). In some cases, you may be given a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. These machines help prevent stiffness, pain, and the development of joint adhesions (2).
1. Green D, Figgie M. Synovectomy: Surgery for Inflammatory Arthritis. HSS J. 2020. 2. Giordano B. Post-Operative Modalities.; 2015. https://www.urmedicine.org/orthopaedics/hip-preservation/assets/docs/ice-cpm handout.pdf.