Hand Surgery & Work: How Long You’ll Need Off & Planning for a Smooth Return Introduction

Wondering how long you’ll be away from work after hand surgery can cause additional stress. Rest assured, my priority is your full recovery, and that includes protecting your time off so you can focus on healing. Let’s break down the factors involved and how to best prepare for a successful return to work.

How Long Will I Be Off Work?

There’s no single answer, as it depends on your specific:

  • Type of Surgery: Some procedures require longer recovery periods than others.
  • Your Job: Jobs involving heavy hand use or repetitive motions naturally need longer breaks than desk-based roles.
  • Individual Healing: Everyone progresses at a different pace.

My Commitment: Your Needs Come First

I’ll never rush you back to work prematurely. Here’s how I approach work restrictions:

  • Honest Assessment: I’ll give you a realistic estimate of your time off based on your surgery and job duties. I’m not one for sugar coating your journey!
  • Prioritising Your Recovery: If you’re progressing well, we can discuss a phased return. If not, I’ll support extending your time off.
  • Clear Documentation: I’ll provide detailed documentation for your employer to ensure they understand your needs.

Key Takeaway: It’s not about taking maximum time off; it’s about taking the time you need to heal properly for a successful, long-term return to work.

Strategies for Planning Your Absence

Proactive planning minimises stress and reduces the likelihood of being pressured to return too soon:

  • Communicate Early: Inform your employer as soon as your surgery is scheduled.
  • Discuss Your Job Duties: Explain to your manager the specific hand actions your job requires.
  • Explore Phased Return: Ask if a gradual return with modified duties initially is possible.
  • Delegate & Prepare: Before surgery, hand over projects and provide clear documentation to colleagues.

Key Takeaway: Open communication with your employer and planning ahead are key for a worry-free recovery.

Additional Considerations

  • Light Duties: If offered, be realistic about whether they’re truly feasible with your hand restrictions.
  • Financial Planning: If your income will be impacted, look into short-term disability options or sick leave allowances.

I’m Your Advocate

I understand that your ability to work is essential. I’ll guide you through the recovery process, provide the necessary documentation, and advocate for your needs with your employer.

Meet Alistair Phillips, Your Orthopaedic Hand and Trauma Surgeon

Ali Phillips is a fellowship-trained hand surgeon dedicated to educating and empowering his patients. He believes in clear information and shared decision-making. When not in the clinic, you might find him wing foiling or on a cycling adventure. Connect: alistairphillips.co.uk @ali.thehandsurgeon on IG, Twitter/X, Threads, FB and TikTok