I had a lateral release done in Oct '04. With it, they did another procedure. (I can never remember the name of it: medial something or other...) In my case, I went through about 3 months of intense physical therapy before hand. First to try to prevent the need for surgery, but then to make sure I was as strong as possible for the surgery/recovery.
For the most part, it was successful. The most important thing is to keep yourself strong.... physically and mentally. It was hard, but worth it. The downside is, during my recovery, I was involved in another accident which set me back again. I ended up having to have a TTT in February '05. But that was a freak situation, and the stronger you get, the more likely you are to have a good recovery.
My advice, make sure you are comfortable with your therapist. It's a relationship you'll need for a pretty long time.
And be totally honest with the doc and the pt; they can't help you if they don't know everything!
If you need to chat, contact me!