Recovery Times For Surgeries

Recovery Times For Common Surgeries

The word “surgery” instills some amount of fear in the mind of any person who has been told to undergo surgery.
The immediate questions which arise in any person’s head regarding surgery are whether it is absolutely necessary and what would be the recovery time for surgeries.

When is Surgery Necessary?

Surgeries are advised in those cases where medications have no role to play or when all options for conservative management have been exhausted.

For example, a person has been having recurrent tonsillitis over the last 10-15 years; now the episodes of tonsillitis have become severe enough to result in complications. It is now that the doctor will advise the patient to get the tonsils removed surgically.

For patients as well as doctors/ surgeons, surgery remains the last choice of management for any disease condition

Recovery Time for Surgeries

Recovery time for surgeries ideally depend upon the following:

  • The Type of Surgery one has to go under determines recovery time for surgeries.
    Some surgeries are minor, that is, they are done within a span of few minutes or an hour; whereas there are some which have take longer durations.
  • Duration of Surgery influences the recovery time for surgeries. Surgeries of longer duration may demand a recovery time of few weeks or even months.
  • Site of Surgery. Surgeries involving delicate areas like neck, eyes, ears, brain, spine and heart require longer durations of rest.
    Similarly, recovering from abdominal surgeries without complications is equally crucial because our entire process of digestion depends upon healthy abdominal organs.
  • Complications During Surgery. A surgery which has encountered complications like infections, excessive bleeding or thrombo-embolism need to be monitored closely post-operatively.
  • Pre-existing Illness and Physical Fitness Prior to Surgery. Recovery time for surgeries can be prolonged if the patient has some co-morbidity like hypertension or diabetes.
  • Post-operative Care. Surgery involving delicate organs like heart, brain, spine and neck or large wounds and complicated surgical procedures require close monitoring and optimum care for speedy recovery.

Each person’s experience of a particular surgery can be different. The below mentioned table is simply an average of recovery times. Some patients may recovery early from a particular surgery while the other may take slightly longer.

Some Common Surgeries With Their Average Recovery Time (To Return To Work) Are Given in the Tables Below

Sr. No. Common Orthopedic Surgeries Average Recovery Rime
1. Total Hip Replacement Up to 6 weeks (non-manual work)
2. Total Knee Replacement Up to 6 weeks (non-manual work)
3. ACL Reconstruction 3-9 months (for regular work)
4. Lower Limb Amputation 6 months (for regular work)
5. Removal of Bunion 6 – 8 weeks (non-manual work)
6. Upper Limb Amputation 3 months (depending upon the type of work)
7. Knee Arthroscopy 1 – 2 weeks (non-manual work)
8. Shoulder Arthroscopy 2 – 6 weeks  (non-manual work)
9. Fracture Wrist Joint 1 week (12 weeks for dominant wrist)
10. Fracture Clavicle 6 weeks
11. Shoulder Rotator Cuff Repair 4 – 12 weeks (non-manual work)
12. Spinal Decompression 3 – 6 months


Some orthopedic surgeries especially of fractures require you to undergo a repeat surgery to remove screws, plates and wires which are used for re-union of bones.

Sr. No. Common Urological Surgeries Average Recovery Time
1. Prostatectomy 2 – 4 weeks
2. Lithotripsy 2 weeks
3. Vasectomy Up to 1 week
4. Nephrectomy 2 – 4 weeks
5. Renal Transplant 4 – 8 weeks
6. Orchidectomy 2 weeks
7. Cystoscopy 1 day


In case of surgeries for renal stones, stents are placed in the kidneys after stone fragmentation to enable proper drainage of urine. The patient needs to undergo a cystoscopy after 2-3 weeks for removal of the stent.

Sr. No. Common Gynecological Surgeries Average Recovery Time
1. Endometrial Ablation 2 – 5 days
2. Hysterectomy 2 – 4 weeks
3. Miscarriage D&C 1 – 2 days
4. Pelvic Floor Repair 2 – 3 weeks
5. Removal of Ovarian Cyst Up to 1 week


Sr. No. Common Breast surgeries  Average recovery time
1. Benign breast lumpectomy Up to 1 week
2. Breast cancer wide local excision 1 – 2 weeks
3. Breast cancer mastectomy 2 – 4 weeks


Sr. No. Common Head, Neck and Eye  Surgeries  Average Recovery Time
1. Cataract Removal 1 – 3 days
2. Thyroidectomy 2 weeks
3. Parotid Gland Removal 2 weeks
4. Sub-Mandibular Gland Removal Up to 2 weeks


Sr. No. Common Cardio-vascular Surgeries Average Recovery Time
1. Coronary Angioplasty 6- 8 weeks
2. CABG 6 weeks
3. Unilateral Varicose Veins Sclerotherapy 2 – 3 days
4. Bilateral Varicose Veins Sclerotherapy 7 – 10 days
5. Peripheral Angioplasty w/o Stenting 1 – 2 weeks


Sr. No. Common Abdominal Surgeries Average Recovery Time
1. Laparoscopic hernia repair 1 week (non-manual work)
2. Open Hernia Repair 2 weeks
3. Large Hernia Repair (Laparoscopic) 2 – 3 weeks
4. Large Hernia Repair (Open) 3 – 5 weeks
5. Cholecystectomy (Laparoscopic) 1 – 2 weeks
6. Cholecystectomy (Open) 3 – 5 weeks
7. Laparoscopic Bowel Resection 2 weeks
8. Gastrectomy 6 – weeks
9. Duodenotomy for Ulceration 4 – 6 weeks
10. Appendicectomy (Laparoscopic) 1 week
11. Appendicectomy (Open) 2 weeks
12. Hemicolectomy with End to End Anastamosis 3 – 6 weeks
13. Resection of the Rectum with Permanent Colostomy 8 – 12 weeks
14. Anal Hematoma 2 – 3 days
15. Hemorrhoidectomy 2 – 3 weeks
16. Anal Fissure Sphincterotomyy 1 – 2 days
17. Anal Fistula Up to 1 week
18. Pilonidal Sinus (Primary Suture) 1 – 3 weeks
19. Pilonidal Sinus (Secondary Suture) 3 weeks
20. Abdominoplasty 2 – 3 weeks


The list of common surgical procedures mentioned above may take shorter or longer recovery times and may vary from person to person depending upon each individual body’s reaction towards surgery. Recovery time for surgeries is also greatly influenced by each patient’s immunity and willingness to cooperate with the health care methods.

Although going for surgery can be nerve wrecking. Yet, expecting a speedy recovery and instant relief as soon as you come out of the operation theatre is ideally not possible since the body is trying to heal itself from the surgical trauma.

Likewise, patients and their immediate relatives need to be counselled about what they must expect during or after the surgery so that they are mentally prepared.