Orthopaedic surgeons Geoffrey S. Marecek, MD, and Michael F. Schafer, MD, co-authors of a new literature review outlining the potential limitations and necessary precautions for driving after orthopaedic surgery and procedures.
While the topic can have emotional, legal and public safety implications, there are currently no laws, or well-established insurance or medical guidelines, to help patients and physicians determine when it is definitively safe to drive again following orthopaedic procedures. As a result, many patients drive without consulting their physician, while still on narcotic pain medication, and/or while wearing splints or casts which can significantly impair their ability to drive.
"Driving after Orthopaedic Surgery," appears in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).
Highlights from the literature review include:
- Patients should never drive if they are taking narcotic pain medication.
- The use of both arms is essential to the safe operation of a vehicle.
- Splints, casts, slings and other devices used for post-surgical immobilization, and the treatment of fractures and dislocations in the upper extremities, may seriously diminish a driver's ability to control the wheel.
- A lower extremity injury, cast or splint may limit a driver's ability to use a car brake or gas pedal.
- R. C. Koonce, J. T. Bravman. Obesity and Osteoarthritis: More Than Just Wear and Tear. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2013; 21 (3): 161 DOI: 10.5435/JAAOS-21-03-161
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