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Returning to Work after Hysterectomy

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Returning to Work after hysterectomyWhen can I go back to work?

You and your doctor are the only ones who can determine when you can return to work. The standard disability period issued by most medical providers for a hysterectomy is six weeks, but because all women heal differently, this time may vary.

A physically-fit 30-year-old with no children who had a less-invasive type of hysterectomy and works at a desk job a mile from home could likely return to work earlier than a 45-year-old raising five children who had an abdominal hysterectomy with bladder suspension, who climbs telephone poles for a living, and drives nearly an hour each way to her job. Likewise, a smoker who is overweight and works as a district attorney with a typical 50-plus-hours-per-week schedule might have a rougher time returning to work than a slender non-smoker half her age who works as a receptionist in a day spa.

Below are some factors your doctor will take into consideration before releasing you to return to work:
  • Your age and overall physical condition and health prior to surgery
  • Type of hysterectomy performed (abdominal vs. vaginal vs. laparoscopic)
  • Add-ons to hysterectomy surgery including pelvic repairs, bladder work, tummy tuck, etc.
  • Complications, if any, from surgery and during recovery
  • Overall health issues which may impede recovery, such as obesity, smoking, other diseases and medical conditions present before surgery
  • Environmental factors including your home life and family responsibilities (if any)
  • Physical requirements of your occupation
  • Required work schedule
  • Travel time and mode to and from work
  • Job stress

If you feel able and wish to return to work prior to your official medical release date, get your doctor’s approval first. Your doctor should evaluate your healing and overall health and discuss your job responsibilities with you, and then make a decision as to whether it is safe for you to return to your regular employment.

Remember, while the initial recovery may only take 6 weeks, it may be a few more months or even a year before you are feeling back to normal again.

If your doctor authorizes you to return to work and you don’t feel ready, consider trying to negotiate with your employer to start back part-time, and/or with less-demanding physical duties If your job primarily consists of physical exertion—particularly lifting, pulling, climbing and activities that involve the abdominal muscles—please proceed with caution when you do return to work. Let your supervisor and co-workers know that you may not be able to perform at 100% capacity for a number of weeks, due to the fact that you had major abdominal surgery. If they are made aware of the circumstances, you will find that most people are accommodating and sympathetic towards those who are still “on the mend.”

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

03-28-2005 - 04:56 PM


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