Should You Lift That Item After Surgery?

What weighs 10 pounds? That’s the limit doctors recommend that patients ought to pick up after surgery — temporarily, at least. Here are a few common things that might exceed those restrictions.

2:35 PM

Author | Mary Jo Boyle

After surgery, most patients receive a uniform prescription: Take it easy. That, of course, means no heavy lifting.

One way doctors help those with surgical wounds heal quickly — and avoid added physical stress that could raise blood pressure and, in turn, cause a cut to break open and bleed — is to recommend steering clear of picking up anything that weighs more than 10 pounds.

Without a scale at hand, how can you tell?

We've compiled a list of common items that typically clock in at more than 10 pounds to help you gauge whether to proceed or put it down.

10+ pounds at home:

  • Average 3-month-old baby

  • Laundry basket filled with towels or jeans

  • Medium-sized bowling ball

  • Small microwave oven

  • Medium-sized cat or small dog

  • Most vacuum cleaners

  • Large garbage bag (filled)

10+ pounds at the grocery store:

  • Large watermelon

  • Large bag of sugar or flour

  • Sack of potatoes

  • 1¼ gallons of milk

  • Three 2-liter bottles of soda

  • A holiday ham or turkey

If you aren't sure if an object weighs 10 pounds, err on the side of caution and don't pick it up.

Remember, too, that the length of your lifting restriction will vary depending on your procedure. Be patient and follow your health care professional's advice to avoid potential complications.


More Articles About: Heart Health Post Operative and Recovery Surgery Pre- and Post-Operative
Health Lab word mark overlaying blue cells
Health Lab

This article is from the Health Lab digital publication.

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

MichMedmedia@med.umich.edu

734-764-2220

Newsletter

Get a weekly digest of medical research and innovation, straight to your inbox.

Subscribe
Featured News & Stories VAD heart device cooler red and teal
Health Lab
Medicare policy change could increase inequity in heart transplant access, study finds
Patients seen at transplant centers had almost 80% higher odds to receive “bridge-to-transplant” designation
Three hands with two medical bands having the words penicillin allergy disappearing.
Health Lab
Are you still allergic to penicillin?
A new program is finding many diagnosed in childhood with antibiotic allergies are no longer allergic after retesting
prescription pad
Health Lab
Reducing opioids prescribed after total knee and hip arthroplasty can be beneficial for patients and doctors
Large doses of opioids are commonly prescribed after total knee and hip arthroplasty to avoid call-ins for refills, but smaller doses can be just as effective.
woman smiling hospital bed UM pillow
Health Lab
Her heart stopped more than 25 times. ECMO saved her life.
After two birthdays in the hospital, she celebrated with a brand-new heart.
cannabis leaf lab note logo yellow blue
Health Lab
Cannabis users had worse bypass outcomes, increased amputation and opioid use
Just over 125 of 100,000 people in the U.S. will have a bypass procedure.
vacant hospital room bed
Health Lab
Hospital room features may affect recovery after surgery
The design of a hospital room could affect recovery after high-risk surgeries.