Patient Information

Driving After Plastic Surgery

Driving After Plastic Surgery

Your driving ability will be affected by plastic surgery, due to both physical and psychological impacts.

Australia does not officially regulate when patients can return to driving after surgery. However, it is important that you wait until you can drive safely, comfortably and without compromising your healing journey. This timeframe will differ depending on patients and their specific surgery.

General Australian Driving Requirements

To drive in Australia, you must have a driver’s license that is valid and corresponds to the vehicle you drive. You must also have the capacity to control your car under emergency circumstances and be able to advocate for your driving capacity in a court of law.

You should only return to driving when:

  • Driving movements do not induce pain.
  • You have a normal range of motion in your shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists.
  • All limbs are of normal strength and are not painful.
  • You do not require the use of a wheelchair or crutches.
  • You do not need to wear large and bulky bandages.
  • Your reaction time is not compromised.
  • You can comfortably wear a seatbelt.

At Cutting Edge Surgery Toowoomba, we recommend a progressive return to drive. It is a good idea, to begin with short, familiar trips.

Your ability to return to driving will also be dictated by the type of vehicle you drive (i.e.: transmission), the driving conditions and the journey’s length.

Important considerations before driving:

Before you return to driving, consider the following for your safety, the safety of others, and your healing trajectory.

  1. Healing recommendations: Ensure that driving will not affect your healing journey or the final surgical results.
  2. Safety: Only drive if you can safely control your car in normal and emergency conditions.
  3. Practicality: If you require large bandages that interfere with your driving capacity or are currently using crutches or a wheelchair, do not recommence driving.
  4. Judgements: Do not drive if your judgement is impaired by consuming pain medication.

Driving and Pain Medication

You may require pain medication after your plastic surgery. Strong pain medication can have similar effects as alcohol and can reduce your concentration, reaction and judgement capacities. Therefore, it is important that you do not drive when under the influence of these medicines.

Testing if you can Drive Safely

When you feel ready to recommence driving, it is important that you test your driving abilities before reentering public roads. Practice driving maneuvers and emergency stops in an empty carpark until you can perform such accurately and consistently.  

Car Insurance After Plastic Surgery

It is important to note that you may not be covered under your regular car insurance if:

  • You are under the influence of strong pain medication.
  • You are wearing a brace or cast and are involved in a car accident.
  • You have undergone a “recent” surgery. The definition of “recent” is unclear under government guidelines. If you are concerned, discuss this with your car insurer.

General Suggested Timeline

Each type of plastic surgery has slightly different suggested wait times before driving. The information provided below should only be used as a guide; talk to Dr Assad Bangash or Dr Nasrin Davarpanah for medical recommendations to ensure safety and proper healing.

It is recommended that you wait for the following durations before recommencing driving after aesthetic surgeries:

  • Breast reduction: 2 weeks
  • Mastopexy (breast lift): 1 – 2 weeks
  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck): 2 to 4 weeks
  • Body contouring: varies depending on the procedure
  • Liposuction: 1 week
  • Otoplasty: 3 days
  • Brow and forehead lift: 10 days
  • Eyelid reduction: 1 week
  • Face and neck lift: 4 to 5 days
  • Rhinoplasty: 4 days
  • Gynaecomastia (male breast reduction): 2 weeks

Reconstructive surgeries also have varying recommended healing periods before driving:

  • Skin cancer: 1 hour if the operation is done under local anaesthetic in our rooms, alternatively it will be 24 hours
  • Head and neck reconstruction: varies depending on the procedure
  • Management of chronic wounds: varies depending on the procedure
  • Limb trauma: varies depending on the procedure

Below are some guidelines for driving after different types of breast surgery:

  • Oncoplastic breast surgery: 1 – 2 weeks
  • Lumpectomy (wide local excision): 1 – 2 weeks
  • Mastectomy: 1 – 2 weeks