What are my restrictions after surgery is an important question that should be addressed before surgery. Planning ahead will speed recovery and make your life much smoother in the days after surgery.
There is tremendous amount of information and a lot going on before surgery. This can be an overwhelming and stressful time. Few are thinking about recovery after surgery. However, time to recover from surgery is a common question especially for working adults. Employers will often require a letter or form completed before returning to work. Every employer is different. “Light duty” is frequently not an option for many recovering after surgery and you will need to understand how that will impact time-off, PTO, vacation, etc. FMLA forms might need to be completed.
So, what are my restrictions? It really depends on the operation. My operations are typically involve the belly and, therefore, we restrict activity to no heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks. What is heavy lifting? 10 lbs or more. No straining or stressing. Think of trying to get a window open that is painted shut. Try to avoid unexpected or strenuous physical activities including martial arts or intense cardio (CrossFit).
What about exercise? We expect you to be active. That includes walking, jogging, biking, or treadmill. No swimming within two weeks of surgery to make sure the wound(s) heal well. Golf is likely safe if it is limited to pitching and putting.
Four important issues to remember:
- Ask your surgeon about activity restrictions before you have surgery.
- Ask your employer how activity restrictions will impact timing of your return to work.
- Provide your surgeon with the required forms.
- Identify a specific date that you would like to return to work.