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After surgery is done, how many days off do you need to recuperate before one can go back to work?

Deva Boone
Answer authored by Deva Boone
Deva Boone, MD is the founder of the Southwest Parathyroid Center. As one of the most experienced parathyroid surgeons in the U.S., she has treated thousands of patients with parathyroid conditions.

This can vary a lot. In general, I tell patients to take off a week from work if they can. If they cannot or do not want to take off a week, then I say to at least take a couple of days off.

Most people can get back to regular activities within a few days. But you do not always know how your body is going to react, so I recommend taking the week off just in case it takes you a little longer to get back to normal.

The main issue after the operation is with calcium and PTH fluctuations. Your body doesn’t like big changes in electrolyte levels, so you may not feel great when your calcium drops from being in the high range to the normal range. You might feel a little more tired or weak while that is happening. You might also get some symptoms of low calcium, such as numbness, tingling, or jitteriness. If you get those, they will typically start within a few days of the operation. It is nice to have some time off work if you are getting those symptoms, so you can rest and take care of yourself (and take extra calcium, which is the main treatment).

Many patients who are otherwise healthy will want to get back to work sooner than a week, and that is generally fine, especially if the work is not very physical. Other patients may need a little more time off to recover, and that is ok also. If you have a very physical job, you may need two weeks off, since I don’t recommend heavy lifting for two weeks postop.

Postop expectations Operation