How long should a Pediatric ER nurse expect to be out of work?

I'm trying to ballpark time out from work following a breast reduction. I work as a pediatric ER nurse, so routinely lift up to 40 lbs and am on my feet a lot. What is average/typical out of work time for someone in my profession? I'm currently a 36G post breastfeeding x 2 and am looking to go down to about a C cup.

Doctor Answers 5


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I would recommend only 1-2 weeks off from work.  

I recommend an in-office examination as well as a detailed discussion with a surgeon who you are comfortable with and who is a Double-Board Certified Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Best wishes!

Dr. Desai

Breast reduction

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Most patients can go back to light duty within about a week. I prefer that they avoid heavy lifting for about 6 weeks.

Returning to work after a breast reduction.

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In my own practice should be permitted to return to work in about a week provided you can protect the breasts from trauma.

I would suggest at least four weeks off in your case…

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Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; this operation tends to be one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

As a nurse you understand, better than most, that every patient responds differently to surgery. Your plastic surgeon will therefore be in the best position to advise you about return to specific activities after the breast reduction procedure. Much of his/her recommendations will depend on exactly how you do (and whether or not you experience any complications) after the procedure.

Generally speaking, based on the description of your activities I would suggest at least 4 weeks off of work, if possible. If you are able to return to “modified duty” (with no lifting necessary)  you may be able to return to work sooner.  Much will depend on how much additional help is available to you in your emergency room.

  Best wishes for outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Breast reduction

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Thank you for the question. Time off of work for recovery depends on the patients health, how quickly they recover / and type of occupation. As you noted, peds ER nurses can have a stressful day with lots of physical activity. 

As a general rule, if you had a desk job: 1 week should be enough. You will be tired however even with a sedentary job. 

Hair salon / restaurant worker: lot's of running around, lots of hand on work: 2-3 weeks off of work. 

ER nurse: I think it would be more like 4+ weeks off of work before you are strong enough to pick up 40 lbs. Recovery can be exhausting. You will find that even if you have no more pain, even minor tasks can be draining and leave you with an empty tank of energy half way through your normal 12h shift. 

It is always better to allot for more time off than you need. There are no shortcuts to healing, magic vitamins to make you recover faster as you probably already know. I add this point because sometimes you will see advertising that states quick recovery, no bruising, etc.. because of some special sauce the doctor uses. I think that is more marketing speak than accurate medical information. 

You should have several consultations with board certified plastic surgeons before making any final decisions. 

As always, best to be healthy, no smoking, and make sure any health concerns you have are managed by your primary care md. 

Best to you.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.