Preparing your employer

If you are thinking about surgery, or you have been told you may need surgery, one of the most common concerns after you get over the fear of surgery is how are you going to tell your employer.  Our goal is to return you to health and your work as quickly and safely as possible.

Most people enjoy their jobs, and the people they work with and the last thing they want to do is disappoint them.  Thus, the anxiety of informing them that you may be out of commission for a while is understandable.  The key to reducing this anxiety is to remember that your surgery is designed to help reduce your pain and restore your function so you can be more productive.

The first step is to understand how long you might be away from your employment. Please realize that these are averages and that everyone responds at different rates. Here is a list of common and average recovery times:

Knee Arthroscopy

7-10 days for sedentary and 4-6 weeks for high demand

Rotator Cuff Repair

2-3 weeks for sedentary,  and 3-4 months for high demand.

Bunion and hammertoe surgery

6-8 weeks

Total Knee Replacement

2-4 weeks for sedentary work, 6 weeks to 3 months for higher demand

Uni-compartmental knee replacement

2-3 for sedentary work, 6 -8 weeks for higher demand.

Total Hip Replacement

2-4 weeks for sedentary work, 6 weeks to 3 months for higher demand.

Hip Arthroscopy

2-3 weeks for sedentary, 6 weeks to 3 months for higher demand .

Stem Cell Injections to Hip or Knee

1 day for sedentary, 2 weeks for heavy lifting

Remember that your return to work may depend upon your ability to drive safely. Most state departments of motor vehicles suggest that patients with right lower extremity surgeries not drive for 6 weeks. In addition to the disability of your lower extremities, you must be free from the use of narcotics for at least 24 hrs prior to operating any heavy machinery. However, these are only general guidelines, and your surgeon will talk to you about your specific case.

Now that you understand the average predicted length of recovery, you should inform your employer of anticipated surgical date. Most patients do not need to take any extra time off work prior to their surgery, but you should count on not working on the day of your surgery, even if you are scheduled for a later start time. Occasionally, surgeries are cancelled and your start time will be moved up.

During your recovery, you can keep your employer and your workmates informed of your recovery and anticipated return to work. You should work with your therapists on a return to work date goal and inquire once a week on any need to adjust this date.Most patients can return to work with little to no restrictions. However, this is determined on a case-by-case basis since every job has different physical requirements. Some patients can return with restrictions that may hinder your recovery. Such examples are limited lifting limits, or restrictions on lifting above your shoulder. Rapid recovery techniques such as the optional use of low level laser may help reduce pain, swelling and increase blood flow to the surgical area resulting in a quicker return to work. Please ask our staff about this option. Our fellowship trained physicians using minimally invasive techniques and state-of-the-art ancillary care can also speed this recovery.

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