(Regarding dressings, showers, driving and returning to work)
1- When should I change my dressings?
Leave dressing applied at the time of surgery on until your first post-op visit, about one week after surgery. A clean dressing will be applied at that time if still needed.
2- When can I shower?
After surgery, the incision needs to be kept clean and dry to prevent infection. After your first post-op visit when either sutures are removed or steri-strips are changed, you may then shower and allow the water to run over the incision. (No tub baths or hot tub use until approved by the doctor).
3- When can I drive?
- If you are taking narcotic pain medications you should not drive since these medications can make you drowsy and possibly impair judgment.
- If you have had surgery or injury to your left leg, you may drive when you feel comfortable.
- If you have had surgery or an injury to your right leg, the driving restriction will vary on the type of procedure done. For uncomplicated procedures or fractures it may be possible to drive three to four weeks after surgery if you are comfortable and feel safe. For total joint replacements, ACL reconstruction, cartilage transplant, etc, and more complicated fractures, driving may be permitted after 6-8 weeks. Decisions will be made regarding driving restrictions on a case by case basis.
- Shoulder surgery- due to restrictions on movement and use of the arm, driving may be allowed 2-6 weeks post-op depending on strength and range of motion.
- While in a cast on either arm, you should not drive if you do cannot maintain full control of the wheel.
- The above listings are guidelines; the doctor will impose restrictions as necessary with each patient for their recovery and safety.
4- When can I return to work?
Work restrictions vary with the type of job and how your medical problem is affected by the specific work that you do. Many times the patient is able to go back to work on “light duty”. This may be shorter work hours or less days a week, sedentary work instead of a physically demanding job, restrictions on length of time on your feet or limited lifting amounts, etc. Some employers do not offer “light duty”.