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Returning to work after surgery

Returning to work after surgery

Many people choose to undergo cosmetic surgery procedures to improve their self-confidence and enhance parts of their bodies they’re unhappy with. 

However, when considering cosmetic surgery, some patients are put off by the healing period. While the initial recovery period for cosmetic surgery is 6-8 weeks, it can take up to 12 months for the final result to reveal itself and the body to completely heal. 

This can interfere with patients’ holiday plans and work leave. Each procedure has different healing times, as well as recommended timescales on when patients can return to work.

Here’s everything you need to know about returning to work after surgery

December 10th, 2023 |Ask an Expert

Can I take time off work for surgery?

At least two weeks of rest is advised when you’ve undergone cosmetic surgery procedures. It helps your body to heal and limits the likelihood of catching your stitches. 

All workplaces have different policies in place when it comes to staff holidays. For most, you can use your holiday allowance at your discretion, and could even take them all at once for more time at home. 

However, this depends on your job type. For example, many teachers plan their surgery around the summer holidays, so they have around two months to heal and get used to their new bodies. 

How long will I have off work following surgery?

The initial recovery period for cosmetic surgery procedures is 6 weeks. If a compression garment is required, this should be worn during this time for added support. 

For the majority of cosmetic surgery procedures, 7-14 days off work is recommended. Many also choose to return after their post-op appointment (around 2 weeks post-op) when their wounds have been checked on. 

Strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, and manual labour aren’t recommended too soon after surgery, as they can affect the cosmetic surgery results. If you have any concerns about this after your cosmetic surgery procedure, contact your MYA nurse - they’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions. 

If you work in an office, working from home may be an option for you. This way, you can have two weeks of work-free rest and then work from home until you feel comfortable and able to return to the office. 

How to prepare for returning to work

If you’re heading back to work after a cosmetic surgery procedure, it’s a good idea to get prepared before you do so. 

Get wardrobe ready 

One of the main reasons people undergo cosmetic surgery is to change the way a part of their body looks. However, this means your old clothes may not fit like they used to. 

Treat yourself to some new flattering staple pieces for when you go back to work to give you a boost of confidence when you head back into the office. 

Or if you’ve recently had a face procedure, make sure you have tops that are easy to put on over your head or stick to button-up shirts until you’re fully healed.    

Plan your trip to work 

Heading back to work can be nerve-racking, so to take the edge off your first day back make sure you’re ready for that first journey in. 

Do you have enough petrol?

Is your rail card still in date?

Have you planned what you’re taking for lunch?

Planning ahead and making sure you have everything you need the night before can keep your nerves at bay, and reduce what you need to do the morning of. 

Have you got enough supportive garments? 

If you’ve had a procedure that requires a compression garment, these must be worn at all times for as long as advised by your surgeon (usually 6 weeks). 

We recommend buying two so you can wear one while the other is being washed. If you won’t have time to do this when you return to work, it’s a good idea to buy a few more so you have one available at all times. 

Should I tell my colleagues about my procedure?

You don’t have to tell your colleagues if you’ve undergone cosmetic surgery, but it can be a good idea. It means they’ll understand when you need a bit longer to complete a task or work from home more than you’re used to during the initial recovery period. 

It simply depends on how comfortable you feel around your team and what your work dynamic is like. 

When it comes to annual leave, it’s common for workplaces to have restrictions on how many people are allowed off at once. However, if you tell your boss about your procedure, they may be more lenient about this and allow you to have time off, regardless of what your colleagues are doing. 

Setting boundaries in the workplace

It’s important you set boundaries in the workplace for both you and your colleagues to make you feel at ease after your cosmetic surgery procedure. 

For yourself 

  • Don’t jump in head first - take your time getting back into the swing of things

  • Maintain a routine 

  • Stay hydrated

  • Rest 

For your colleagues

  • If you do choose to tell them about your surgery, make them aware if you don’t feel too comfortable going into detail about the type of procedure or reasons why

  • Tell them about your recovery timeline and when you’re expected to be able to do certain things - e.g. heavier lifting, running, etc.

Hints and tips for post-surgery life 

With cosmetic surgery recovery, there’s no way to speed it up, but there are things you can do to make it that little bit easier.

These are the non-negotiables when it comes to post-op life:

  • Wear your compression garments when advised 

  • Stop smoking and vaping 

  • Attend all follow-up appointments

  • Get enough sleep 

  • Stay hydrated 

It’s also important to be patient. Healing doesn’t happen overnight and is different for every patient, but if you have any questions or concerns, your MYA nurse will be more than happy to help you out. 

Join the MYA community 

We pride ourselves on our community-like approach and have a forum dedicated to patients (past, present, and future) sharing their surgery stories and recovery tips. 

Make sure to follow us on Instagram too! We regularly keep you in the loop with all things cosmetic surgery - including before and after pictures and our latest blog posts.

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