Surgery can be a life-saving procedure for many and improve quality of life significantly. Many people receive routine surgical procedures every day, but recovery times can vary based on the person and the procedure. Here are some things that determine recovery times and the average recovery times for some common surgical procedures.
How is recovery time determined?
Recovery times are different for everyone, even if it is the same procedure. Factors such as the following can shorten or prolong recovery time:
- The type of surgical procedure
- The age and health of the patient
Invasive and lengthy surgeries will require longer recovery because there are usually more or bigger incision wounds. The more your body gets wounded, the longer it will take to heal. Typically older patients take longer to recover than younger ones, as your immune system weakens as you age. If you’re generally unhealthy, it might take longer too.
Complications, such as pulled stitches or infections, will delay the healing process significantly. This risk is why you need to ensure you’re taking care of your body correctly after surgery so you can recover without delay.
Recovery times for 9 common procedures
Here are the general recovery times for nine of the most common surgical procedures.
Carpal tunnel surgery
Carpal tunnel involves pinched nerves within your wrists, and many people often need surgery to fix it. If everything goes well, the carpal tunnel surgery recovery time for most people is usually six weeks (one and a half months). However, times can increase if you go about your business and use your hands as you normally would. You should take some time to rest during the recovery period.
Your hands are essential to getting tasks done each day, but using your hands and wrists right after carpal tunnel surgery can rip stitches out. Follow what your doctor says and limit any strenuous tasks with your hands.
Over 20.5 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts (cloudiness) in at least one eye. If you decide to get cataract surgery to correct your vision, you can expect the recovery time to be about four to six weeks. You might notice improvements a few days after the surgery, but your eyes need up to six to eight weeks to completely heal.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, or womb, due to personal or medical reasons. Sometimes it also involves the removal of the cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries if there are issues with them too. Recovery time for this procedure can take anywhere from six to eight weeks.
Resting is vital to hysterectomy recovery time, as your abdomen goes through a lot during this procedure. So, you should limit lifting, movement, and even driving to recover as soon as possible.
An appendectomy is the surgical removal of your appendix. Recovery is short for this surgery, with full recovery taking only up to four weeks. You’ll typically spend at least a day in the hospital after surgery, and then you can go home and rest. Sometimes, recovery can take two weeks or less if you allow yourself to heal properly.
A tonsillectomy is the removal of your tonsils. Recovery from a tonsillectomy is also relatively short. The most time is about two weeks. You can only eat cold, soft, and bland foods during this time to prevent pain and surgical site issues. Follow these instructions, along with what your doctor says, and you could recover in as little as ten days.
A cholecystectomy is the removal of your gallbladder, which controls bile storage. You can typically get this surgery and leave the hospital within a few days. Then you’ll go home and rest. If you follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on a low-fat diet for the first week, a full recovery from this surgery will take about four to six weeks.
Total knee replacement surgery
A knee replacement surgery typically involves surgically removing any damaged cartilage and bones from the knee area and replacing them with metal or plastic parts.
At the beginning of recovery, you might need assistance with movement and need to use crutches or a wheelchair. After this, you should be able to fully recover and walk on your own in about four to six weeks.
Total hip replacement surgery
A hip replacement involves removing and replacing a damaged hip joint with prosthetics. Recovery times for this can vary from three to six weeks, and pain can often last throughout the recovery process. Many people can walk again within the first week after their surgery. However, you should expect to stay on bed rest for the first few days.
A hernia happens when your organs bulge through the walls of tissue they hide behind. To correct this issue, you’ll need hernia corrective surgery, which can take about one to two weeks to partially recover from. This short recovery window means you can return to your job, but you shouldn’t do anything strenuous until four to six weeks after the surgery to prevent complications.
Sometimes recovery times can scare people off when it comes to surgical procedures. It can take up to six weeks to recover from many standard surgical procedures. However, as long as you follow what your doctor says and accept help, you should be able to fully recover in the shortest amount of time possible.
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.