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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How soon after hand surgery can I drive?

    Related Topic
    I'm scheduled to have surgery and I need to know how much time to take off work.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Dr Jillian Tomlinson

    Hand Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Jill Tomlinson is a fully qualified plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon. After graduating dux in her year at University High School, Jill completed medical … View Profile

    Thanks for your question. It's difficult to give an exact answer without knowing what type of surgery you are having, as the recovery period for different types of surgery is varies.

    You will be safe to drive when you are able to grip the steering wheel strongly. In Australia the responsibility is with the driver to ensure that they are fit to drive but you should definitely ask your surgeon what to expect so you can plan accordingly.

    For more information on driving after hand surgery please visit the Melbourne Hand Surgery website.

  • 2


    Brad Williams

    Occupational Therapist (OT)

    Williams Occupational Therapy has occupational therapists trained in driver assessments and rehab specialising in getting clients back on road safely. WILLIAMS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY offers Adelaide … View Profile

    As an occupational therapist who assesses driving and the impact of medical issues of driving, this is a ttricky question to answer without knowing the type of surgery, prognosis and functional limitations.

    Drivers are required to drive with two hands. If one hand is injured for the long term, and they are keen to drive, drivers need to demonstrated sound use of a modification to allow driving with one hand only. This is usually a spinner knob and an indicator extension arm, but an assessment may be required for this.
    If it is an injury that is suspected to recover, then consultation with your treating specialist is recommended. As long as shoulder and elbow range/power is sufficient, you will need to demonstrated adequate strenght to grip and release the steering wheel with the injured hand and demonstrate thumb opposition to at least one or more fingures. 

    But, again, seek advice from your treating specialist. 

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