Every patient who has surgery is always anxious to get back to their normal routine and when they can resume driving is always one of the top issues on their list.
Driving poses some unique issues, and it is very important that you not ‘jump the gun’ and go back to driving too soon, or you could endanger yourself, your passengers and the people in cars around you. Most importantly you must be off of pain medication before you drive. Even if you feel perfectly fine, it does not matter. If you are driving and you have narcotics in your system then you will automatically be at fault if you are in an accident, and be charged with driving under the influence and negligence. Also, you must be physically limber enough to perform the movements required to safely operate a vehicle. You have to be able to move your hands and arms enough to steer, your feet and legs enough to work the pedals, and your neck enough to rotate your head to see over your shoulders. If you aren’t able to do these simple actions, then you can’t possibly maintain control of a car. You have to be alert enough and comfortable to react to emergency situations. There is no controlling the other drivers or pedestrians in your environment, so you have to be able to respond to the unexpected, and if you are in too much pain or too weak, your reactions will not be quick enough to be safe.
I know all of this sounds very ominous, but really it is not that long after surgery that these issues resolve and driving is safe. With a smaller procedure like breast augmentation or liposuction, most patients can be back to driving in about a week. With larger procedures like a tummy tuck, brachioplasty or combination procedure like a mommy makeover it may take a couple of weeks to be ready. Once you think you are ready, go for a test drive first (like around the block) before you head out on the highway or into heavy traffic and find out the hard way you really need more time.