Recovery from common surgical procedures

Figure 6: Recovery from Common Surgical Procedures

General/Abdominal Surgery

N.B. - where a return to work time is not suggested an individual decision should be made depending on clinical condition

Surgical Procedure Recommended return to non-manual employment Recommended return to manual employment Other Advice
Inguinal, small umbilical or incisional hernia
Laparoscopic repair 1 week 1-2 weeks  
Open repair 2 weeks 2-3 weeks  
Bilateral inguinal hernia repair
Laparoscopic repair 1 week    
Open repair 1-2 weeks 3-5 weeks  
Recurrent inguinal hernia
Laparoscopic repair 1-2 weeks 1-6 weeks  
Open repair 1-3 weeks 3-12 weeks  
Large umbilical or incisional hernia
Laparoscopic repair 2-3 weeks    
Open repair 3-5 weeks    
Epigastric hernia 3-5 days 4 weeks  
Femoral hernia 2 weeks 3 weeks  
Umbilical hernia 2 weeks 6 weeks  
Laparoscopic 1-2 weeks 2-3 weeks Driving advice: Practice using the pedals whilst the car is stationary before attempting to drive.
Open 3 weeks 3-5 weeks
Laparoscopic fundoplication 10-14 days 3-4 weeks Providing solid foods are tolerated
Laparoscopic bowel resection 2 weeks 6 weeks  
Major laparotomy   6-8 weeks  
(If fit before surgery)
6-8 weeks    
Gastrectomy or oesophagogastrectomy for malignancy 8-12 weeks Unlikely Dumping from early filling of duodenum and short peak of glucose absorption
Duodenotomy for ulceration 4-6 weeks 6-8 weeks  
Appendicectomy – Laparoscopic Open 7 days 1-2 weeks Stoma may delay return to work, stoma normally closed after 3-6 months
2 weeks 2-3 weeks
Right hemicolectomy with end-to-end anastomosis

Left hemicolectomy or anterior resection of rectum
3-6 weeks 4-8 weeks  
4-6 weeks 6-10 weeks  
Defunctioning stoma closure 3-4 weeks    
Abdominoperineal excision of rectum with permanent colostomy 8-12 weeks   General fitness and ability to cope with stoma
Anal verge haematoma 2-3 days 2-3 days  
Thrombosed internal haemorrhoids Up to 2 weeks Up to 2 weeks  
Haemorrhoidectomy 2-3 weeks 2-3 weeks Full healing may take 5-6 weeks but should usually still be able to work
Anal fissure - lateral internal sphincterotomy 1-2 days 1-2 days  
Pilonidal sinus
Primary suture 1-3 weeks 3-6 weeks  
Secondary intention 3 weeks 3-6 weeks  
Anal fistula
Small, little dressing required 1 week 1 week  
Large, dressing changed by district nurse Variable Variable  
Abdominoplasty 2-3 weeks 8 weeks  
Lung resection 3-5 months   Driving advice: Practice using the pedals whilst the car is stationary before attempting to drive.
Unilateral Varicose veins
Foam 2-3 days 5 days  
Open 7-10 days 2-3 weeks  
Renal Transplant
Laparoscopic 4-6 weeks 4-6 weeks  
Open 6-8 weeks 6-8 weeks  

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