Should You Lift That Item After Surgery?

April 28, 2016 1:35 PM

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.

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.