Driving a Car after surgery? Return to Work?
How long before a typical patient is allowed to drive a car, return to work
Mr. Derek McMinn
You should not drive a manual car for six weeks following surgery because it is considered that the reaction times of your legs do not return to normal before this. However, if you drive an automatic car and it is your left hip which has been operated on you may drive at three weeks.
Return to driving depends on the hip; right leg operates the pedals so return to driving is usually around 4 to 5 weeks for the right. For the left hip, I advise patients not to drive until they are off the pain meds (otherwise they may end up like Brittany Spears or Heather Locklear). Usually patients can drive within a couple weeks after left hip surgery.
Return to work depends on the job. I let patients tell me when they want to go back. I have had patients go back within one week (desk job with lots of independence to make their schedule) and have had patients out for 2 months for construction type work
Dr. De Smet
2 weeks to drive a car. Return to work depends on what it is.
Drive 2-3 days after surgery. Deskwork or light physical work like a doctor, dentist in 2 weeks. Work that requires you to be on your feet alld ay 6 weeks. Heavy lifting or sports can start at 6 months.
1-2 weeks left hip, 3-4 weeks right. Return to work; self employed: fulltime at 3 weeks; hates/tolerates their job: 6 weeks.
I want a patient driving a car within 3 to 4 weeks of surgery. A patient with a sedentary job can return to work within a month of surgery. I don’t allow running and jumping for 6 months to protect the femoral neck. A patient with a physically demanding job (construction worker) has to modify the activities. If a laborer can avoid running, jumping, heavy lifting and pushing, he or she can return to work within 6 weeks.
Return to work is most dependent on what type of job the patient has. Sit down jobs are easier to return to but frequently transportation is an issue. Returning to driving has no set time frame. It is dependent on when a patient can safely operate a car and whne they are off narcotic pain med. Typically patients can drive in 2-3 weeks for a left hip and a little longer for a right since that leg needs to operate the pedals.
As soon as the patient can get into their car, they can drive. Return to work is dependent on their occupation. Office job - within 2 weeks. Unrestricted heavy labor - after 3 months.
For driving, usually a left hip patient can drive after about 2 weeks, as long as they are off pain medication. If it was a right hip surgery, you may need an additional 1 to 2 weeks to make sure you can lift the leg from side to side. A manual transmission will take 3-4 weeks postop for either side.
I usually allow my patient to drive approximately at about 4-5 weeks if it is the right leg and approximately 1-2 weeks if it is the left leg and if they do not have a car that requires a clutch. Regarding return to work, if the patient has a fairly sedentary job they can return to work as soon as they can safely commute. If the patient is required to either drive a car or operate heavy machinery or stand for long periods of time, we individualize it to the patient’s needs with a particular focus on making sure that they are off all narcotics before returning back to work. We want our patients active, but we also want our patients safe!