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Surgery Recovery Times:

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Surgery Recovery Times: Average Length of Operation & Recovery Time

Needing surgery can be a frightening thought. For patients who are uninformed, an upcoming surgery can be especially nerve wracking. At Weiss & Paarz, we are committed to providing accurate information that will help patients develop a better idea of what to expect before heading into an operation. Previously, we had enlisted the help of medical professionals to give their tips on what to ask physicians before a surgery.

We thought it may be useful to provide a follow up post on what to expect after a surgery, so we gathered a broad set of statistics to examine the average operation and recovery times for various kinds of surgeries all over the human body. It is important to remember that everyone’s experience is unique and the statistics provided are merely based on medical data to determine averages across the general population.*

Many of the surgeries we researched involved more critical and sensitive areas like the heart, brain, or spine. Surgeries like this are generally completed within a few hours time but involve longer recovery periods ranging from a few weeks to a few months in length.

Most of the surgeries we looked into had average recovery times of at least several weeks at minimum. Vasectomies and appendectomies, two fairly common procedures, were on the shortest end of average recovery times. Specifically, the average recovery time for a vasectomy is less than a week, while the average recovery time for an appendectomy is a week at its minimum. The longest average recovery period we found was that of a total knee replacement, which can take from three months to one full year. This is typical with many knee injuries. An ACL injury, for example, can take six months or more to recover from.

Operating times, like recovery times, are the shortest for vasectomies and appendectomies. A vasectomy averages around 20 – 30 minutes while an appendectomy usually takes about an hour. Most of the surgeries we looked into take a minimum of one hour.

Despite the wealth of information and paperwork patients receive prior to surgery, it can still be difficult to keep track of what’s in store once you or your loved one reaches the recovery room. Anticipating surgery can cause extra stress and anxiety which only exacerbates this problem. As a result, it is important to seek information from a doctor or medical health professional prior to undergoing any surgery to best prepare for recovery, as some of the fastest operations involve the longest recovery times.

Infographic that compares average surgery time and surgery recovery time of various different operations.

Infographic vector created by freepik

Average Length of Surgery Operation Time and Recovery Time

Lumbar Spinal Fusion

The vertebra in the lower back are fused together 

  • Lengthen of Operation: 3-4 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 3-6 Months

Open-Heart Surgery

The patient is connected to a heart-lung bypass machine, or bypass pump during surgery

  • Lengthen of Operation: 3-6 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 6-8 Months

Cesarean Section (C-Section)

Surgical birth

  • Lengthen of Operation: 55-60 Minutes
  • Recovery Time: 6 Weeks

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

A device is implanted in the brain to send electrical signals for stimulation

  • Lengthen of Operation: 3-4 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 9-12 Weeks

Carotid Endarterectomy 

Material is removed from a carotid artery to prevent a stroke

  • Lengthen of Operation: 1-2 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 1-2 Weeks 

Coronary Artery Bypass

Clears a blocked artery

  • Lengthen of Operation: 3-6 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 6-12 Weeks 


Removal of the appendix.

  • Lengthen of Operation: 1 Hour
  • Recovery Time: 1-4 Weeks 


A permanent form of male birth control.

  • Lengthen of Operation: 20-30 Minutes
  • Recovery Time: 2-7 Days

Total Knee Replacement (TKR)

Damaged portions of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts

  • Lengthen of Operation: 1-2 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 3-12 Weeks 


Removal of the uterus

  • Lengthen of Operation: 1-3 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 4-6 Weeks 

Endoscopic Endonasal

Brain or spinal surgery performed through the nasal passage

  • Lengthen of Operation: 1-2 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 1-2 Weeks 


Removal of the gallbladder

  • Lengthen of Operation: 1-2 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 4-6 Weeks

Modified Radical Mastectomy

Removal of the breast

  • Lengthen of Operation: 2-3 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 2-3 Weeks 


Removal of a portion of the skull to expose the brain

  • Lengthen of Operation: 3-5 Hours
  • Recovery Time: 1-4 Weeks

*The information and statistics displayed above are merely averages and are solely designed to provide general knowledge to the public. They are being used as a part of attorney marketing and have been gathered and designed by an independent marketing firm. Cited statistics and statements were taken from various independent medical websites. Weiss & Paarz did not take any steps to replicate the findings of any of the sources used in this infographic, nor were the numbers or results displayed above independently verified by Weiss & Paarz.


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