How to Adapt Recliner for Right Arm Surgery

How to Adapt Recliner for Right Arm Surgery

I have had right arm surgery. Spending most of my time confined to my bed. I love resting in my recliner, but the recliner gets operated from the right side.

I can’t control the recliner from my right side. So, I had to let go of the idea of getting rested in my recliner.

But there it was when my brain truly started working, and I find it very interesting that it’s not only me facing an issue. There must be people like me facing the same problem.

I tried to find some ways to get things rolled smoothly, but it took hours for me to find some instrumental ways to still get rested in the recliner with my right-hand surgery.

But in this blog, I am going to share some amazing methods to help you control the recliner from the right side without fussing through hundreds of web pages.

How to adapt a recliner for right arm surgery

For Power recliner

Power recliners are the modern version of the traditional recliner. Rather than using levers or other mechanisms, they rely on buttons, which are directly connected to the electricity and wires.

When you press the buttons, you get the right control of the recliner.

But the issue is, that the controls are mostly in traditional as well as in power recliners on the right side.

And as you have had right-hand surgery, you would no longer be using the right hand to get things done.

So, you will have to get the same settings on the left side so that you could get the right controls without any big issues or trouble.

First, remove all the connections or batteries connected to the power recliner, and make sure that there is no power connectivity involved, as you would be handling wires or the power mechanism of the recliner, it should be safe for you.

There are buttons on the right side that controls the power recliner. Our goal is to remove those buttons from the right side, without leaving any mark on the recliner.

Carefully remove the buttons and place them in a safe place, not to misplace them as you would be installing the same buttons on the right left side.

If you are not a handy person, the better would be to write down the function of the button and where were they installed, or take a picture so that you could install it again.

Now measure the length of the recliner, in other words, it will help you get the idea of how lengthy wires will be required to shift the controls to the other side.

Measure the wire of the same length, and try to use advanced tools for cutting the wires, so that there are no imperfections. Use insulation and taps to make sure the connection is safe.

Now when you have the right length of wire, get the soldering iron ready for the heating and to make the circuity complete.

Solder one side of the wire to the exposed and the other end of the wire to the circuit board or Veroboard.

Make sure that you use different colored wires for the different buttons, and don’t short two wires while soldering.

Get some more wire, connect it to the removed buttons, don’t forget to make both side connections as safe as you need, and use tapes on both sides for the purpose.

Don’t forget the batteries, get the two wires from the Veroboard o the battery to provide the power to the button, and cover each exposed wire with a plastic tap to avoid short circuit issues or malfunctioning.

If the size of the Veroboard is bigger, and there is a big portion unused on it, you can remove the unused portion to make it look more compact and easy to use.

You can use a breadboard, which is relatively compact and thin compared to Veroboard.

Take that Veroboard and fix it on the left side of the recliner, at a comfortable height so that without hurting your right hand, you could access it and use it as per your needs.

Turn the power on, and check if the circuit is proper and working. Once your right arm is normal, you can again take that Veroboard and connect to the exposed Cricut on the right-hand side.

Or if you want it to be controlled from the left hand, it’s your choice.

If your recliner also comes with a USB port that helps you charge your phone, it is better not to move the USB Port.

Because USB Ports are hard to manage and require utmost care and precautions to get them replaced. If you want to transfer the USB Port too, get it done and carefully remove it.

For traditional recliners

Adapting a traditional recliner that is controlled from the right side to the left side, is going to be tough and next to impossible.

It requires lots of manual labor, and if you are adamant about doing it on your own, with your right-hand surgery, I don’t think it would be possible for you.

For that, you will have to have some assistance, to help you do that while you guide him/her verbally.

The main idea behind controlling your recliner is using your left hand without removing the lever of the recliner.

You can’t just take the lever off, and install it on the left side. It is almost near impossible to even for expertise, the entire mechanism underwired recline will be changed.

So we are going to use PVC pipes to connect the pipes to the recliners in a way that we could rotate the lever by rotating the PVC pipes and adjust the footrest with the pipes too.

For that, measure the height of the lever to the handle of the recliner, and also the length of the recliner.

Fit the recliner using a PVC pipe of two inches, and connect one more PVC pipe to the one fitted on the lever, don’t forget to screw the first PVC pipe on the lever to the second one so that it does not get loose when you operate it.

Connect more than one PVC pipe to small extensions so that sufficient height is reached. You can attach every part to the other part of the PVC using screws.

With all the arrangements done you can use the PVC pipes to rotate the handle with your left hand and to control the footrest too. You can use the same handle to uplift the footrest and lower it in the getting comfortable position for you.

If you don’t like the aesthetics, as these are all PVC pipes joined to another using screws and tapes, you may use some clothes of an appropriate color so that it does not look odd.

Different Approaches

If you can’t go through the labor required to make your recliner ready to be controlled from the left hand, there are some other approaches you can follow.

Place a pillow under a left arm

If you don’t find it that hard to move easily on your recliner with your right-hand surgery, it would be advisable to place a pillow or two under your left arm to create an illusion of having use of your left arm in the reclining mode.

With the pillow on your left side, you can easily push up and move slightly to control the recliner.

Or if you don’t want to control the recliner when resting on it, the pillows on the left arm help you get up and out of the recliner without any big effort.

Use a different Chair

Upon consulting with your medical doctor, therapist, or an expert you may use a different chair.

Like an office chair, getting up and out of the office chair is relatively easier, and it helps you get comfortable seating without any big issues or trouble.

How to sleep in a recliner with right-hand surgery?

For a normal person, the cushions and padding of the recliner are more than enough. But if you are struggling with your right hand due to surgery, you can’t get rest in the recliner.

To get proper rest, you will have to have more cushions and padding for the right arm. You can have extra pillows for your right hand, as well as neck and head support pillows.

It is a trial and error method, and after checking for multiple positions and cushions you will find the right custom setting for you.

Can I buy a left-controlled recliner?

I don’t think there is any manufacturer to my knowledge with left control setting to control the recliner.

There are only right-controlled recliners, so for someone suffering from a right-hand injury, it is hard to use a recliner, even to get up and out.

To use a recliner with a right hand injured, you can follow the different methods we elaborated on above.

Is it expensive to adopt a recliner for right arm surgery?

I don’t think it is expensive, but if you are not a handy person, and don’t know to handle and change even the smallest things around, maybe for the power recliners as well as traditional recliners making them adaptable for left-hand surgery you will have to hire a professional.

Or get help from your friend or spouse, to get things rolled for you.

Is adapting a recliner for right-hand surgery permanent?

No, the changes you will make are not permanent and can get changed to the default settings once you are recovered from the surgery.

But, you should keep this in mind when making changes, don’t fix anything permanent, and make it only for some time.


Recliners are designed to provide ultimate comfort even when you are not feeling well.

For those suffering from a right-hand injury, and surgery, a recliner can be a lifesaver. It helps you get the required comfort and rest in the preferred settings.

But as you know the recliners are controlled using your right hand, you can’t control them with your right hand.

For that, you will have to make some settings like the way mentioned here. With these methods followed, you can get your recliner adaptable for your right-hand surgery.

Lily Roberts

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