Surgery – General

Driving After Adolescent Spine Surgery: FAQs and General Guidelines

When can I return to driving after surgery?

The ability to return to driving after orthopedic
spine surgery us dependent on several factors including the type of surgery
performed, the type of car (manual vs automatic) and the surgical site.  Studies using driving simulators have been
able to estimate when braking function and reaction time return to normal and
can serve as helpful guidelines.  Your
doctor will provide you with recommendations individualized to your
Estimated return to safe driving after spine surgery
10-14 days
Spine Fusion
6 weeks
Pars Repair
10-14 days
there state laws prohibiting driving after surgery?
Laws vary by state.  Missouri and Illinois do not have laws
prohibiting driving after orthopedic spine surgery.  If you are involved in a car accident, law
enforcement will determine your ability to drive on a case-by-case basis.  Please check your own state laws if driving
outside of Missouri or Illinois.
there insurance laws prohibiting against driving after surgery?
Some insurance companies may have policies restricting
driving after surgery.  Others have no
restrictions.  Please check with your insurance carrier to
determine if any specific restrictions exist.
my doctor “clear” me to drive?
Your doctor CANNOT “clear” or “release” you to
drive.  He or she can recommend if
driving is unsafe, but cannot make a legal determination of when it is safe to
drive.  The decision to return to drive
is ultimately your decision.  However, you must never drive if
you are taking narcotic pain medication or other medications that may cause
doctor will recommend AGAINST driving
·       You
are taking narcotic pain medication or other medications that may cause
·       You
are unable to fully raise both of your arms directly over your head.
there things I can do to help the transition back to driving?
When planning to return to driving after surgery your
doctor recommends that you practice in a safe environment such as an empty parking
lot.  You want be sure you feel
comfortable with your reaction time and braking ability.  You should be confident that you would be able
to stop suddenly if necessary.
Occupational therapy services exist to assist drivers with return
driving after surgery.  Your doctor can provide you with a referral
if necessary.

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