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1089 Spadina Road
Toronto, AL M5N 2M7
Ph: 416-483-2654
Fax: 416-483-2654

Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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Dad is 77-years-old and still driving much to our dismay. Now he's had a total knee replacement and says his doctor told him he could drive again after 10 days. With the new HIPAA rules, there's no way we can verify this. Are there any guidelines for driving after knee replacements?

Your concern matches many other family members watching their senior members get back behind the wheel after major surgery -- especially when there were some concerns before the procedure. Total hip and total knee replacements do take some time to recover from. Guidelines for return-to-driving are general at this point and patient-dependent. For the most part, a 10-day period to resume driving after knee replacement surgery suggests it was his left knee that was operated on. A second assumption is that your father drives an automatic transmission that does not require using a clutch. Brake response time should not have changed for the right leg after surgery on the left leg but this has not been studied formally and verified. Most of the studies on brake response after knee replacement have focused on the right leg. A typical guideline for return-to-driving after right knee replacement is six to eight weeks. Patients can be evaluated for reactions to driving in stop-and-go kinds of situations using a computer simulated driving test. For a more complete assessment of all driving skills, an on-the-road test can be administered. Although the surgeon cannot discuss your father with you without your father's permission, you can certainly contact the surgeon by phone or email (if available) with your concerns and questions. Having a family member raise the question about driving will ensure that the surgeon consider whether there is a problem or not and advise the patient accordingly.


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