The answer to this question largely depends on the type of orthopedic procedure you undergo. While there is no regulation that prohibits you from driving immediately after surgery, it is your personal responsibility to drive safely and keep not only yourself but others safe while on the road.
There are a number of considerations you need to make for driving following an orthopedic procedure. Normally, your surgeon will provide you instructions for post-operative recovery that include safety protocols. If you are contemplating surgery and wondering if you can drive, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Did You Take Pain Medication?
Following surgery, anesthesia will begin to wear off, which means you will begin taking strong pain medications, especially following joint replacement surgery, which come with side effects. Some types of medication can have effects similar to driving under the influence, where your focus and reaction time may be reduced. If you are not 100% conscious, alert, and clear-headed, it’s best to take a cab or ask someone to drive you home following the orthopedic procedure.
Are You Wearing a Cast, Splint, or Brace in Your Arm or Leg?
An obvious effect of orthopedic surgery is the physical limitations you will have immediately afterward. During this time, you may be wearing a cast or a brace around the body part operated on, such as around the shoulder, arm, hand, leg, knee, or ankle. Immobilization devices can affect your ability to drive, therefore just as when you are taking medication, it’s best to leave the driving to someone else.
Are You in Pain?
It is often recommended by surgeons that you wait until you are pain-free before you return to driving. Being pain-free means you are no longer taking pain medication, and your body has healed to the point where pain is no longer an issue. When you drive, you should not be in pain because it can compromise your ability to drive safely.
With all things considered, it’s best to leave the driving to someone else following an orthopedic procedure. Patients scheduled to undergo surgery are required to plan ahead for the surgery, which includes making preparations for recovery at home as well as arranging for a safe return home. It is very rare for orthopedic surgeons to recommend that patients drive themselves home after surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Johnson City, TN
If you need to get orthopedic surgery, look no further than the experts at Watauga Orthopedics. From the time you come in for a consultation to when you have completely healed and recovered, our experts will provide you with the care, guidance, and support you need.
Our highly qualified doctors will evaluate your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment. Should you require surgery, our orthopedic physicians are board-certified and experts at replacing worn-out joints, repairing soft tissue tears, and mending broken bones. We will also make sure to give clear directions for a safe and successful recovery from surgery, leaving no room for doubt.
For inquiries, call Watauga Orthopedics at (423) 282-9011 or send a request for an appointment now. We look forward to serving you at one of our three locations.