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Also called: Rehab

After a serious injury, illness or surgery, you may recover slowly. You may need to regain your strength, relearn skills or find new ways of doing things you did before. This process is rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation often focuses on

  • Physical therapy to help your strength, mobility and fitness
  • Occupational therapy to help you with your daily activities
  • Speech-language therapy to help with speaking, understanding, reading, writing and swallowing
  • Treatment of pain

The type of therapy and goals of therapy may be different for different people. An older person who has had a stroke may simply want rehabilitation to be able to dress or bathe without help. A younger person who has had a heart attack may go through cardiac rehabilitation to try to return to work and normal activities. Someone with a lung disease may get pulmonary rehabilitation to be able to breathe better and improve their quality of life.

Also called: Operation

There are many reasons to have surgery. Some operations can relieve or prevent pain. Others can reduce a symptom of a problem or improve some body function. Some surgeries are done to find a problem. For example, a surgeon may do a biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue to examine under a microscope. Some surgeries, like heart surgery, can save your life.

Some operations that once needed large incisions (cuts in the body) can now be done using much smaller cuts. This is called laparoscopic surgery. Surgeons insert a thin tube with a camera to see, and use small tools to do the surgery.

After surgery there can be a risk of complications, including infection, too much bleeding, reaction to anesthesia, or accidental injury. There is almost always some pain with surgery.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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