One of the most common, and important, questions that patients ask me is how long their recovery will be. There are two important things to know about recovery time after surgery.
- First, the recovery time depends on the type of procedure you have. For example, getting Botox has virtually no recovery time, but getting an abdominoplasty will require significant time to recover. Even two different operations on the same body part may have very different recovery times. If I take a ganglion cyst out, I have my patients wear a splint for 4 weeks to prevent motion because the cyst comes from the joint, and movement at the joint may impair healing. But if I release a trigger finger, I want patients to move that finger immediately after surgery so scar tissue does not develop that limits motion.
- Second, each surgeon is a little bit different in terms of their post-operative care and activity restrictions. So comparing your surgery to that of a friend who had a different surgeon is not necessarily useful.
In terms of how tissue actually heals, a good rule of thumb is that it takes about 6 weeks to achieve full healing. This is why casts stay on at least 6 weeks, and why patients have lifting restrictions for at least 6 weeks after a hernia repair. It is essential that you ask your surgeon what your specific downtime and recovery will be like, and that you understand why you have the restrictions that you do. This will help you have the best experience possible with any surgical procedure