How soon can I travel after surgery?

travel after surgeryThere seems to be a few misconceptions regarding travel after surgery. We’d like to clear that up. In general, if you’re feeling well, travel after surgery is fine. Here are some things to keep in mind though.

 

Travel after surgery: is it safe?

One of the more curious questions I get is whether it’s safe to fly after a breast augmentation. I think they’re asking because at higher elevations, the atmospheric pressure is lower so maybe the implants could expand and pop? I’m guessing here so I welcome comments below as to the reasoning behind this question. Regardless, it’s not true.

 

Modern airplanes have pressurized cabins so the atmospheric pressure isn’t changing. More importantly, even if the atmospheric pressure did change, I’m guessing it would have to change a lot (as in going into space without a pressurized cabin) for the implants to expand enough to pop. But if you’re in that situation, the state of your implants is probably not the most pressing issue!

 

The other concern about traveling after surgery which may not be obvious, is the risk of sitting for long periods of time. Whether you’re in a car or plane, sitting or being sedentary can lead to blood clots in the legs. This is known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These blood clots, in the worst of circumstances, can break loose and travel to the heart and lungs. That can lead to shortness of breath, damage to the lung or even block the heart leading to sudden death.

 

To avoid these blood clots forming during your surgery, your doctor will place sequential compression devices (SCD’s) on your legs. SCD’s squeeze the leg veins, release the chemical nitric oxide and keep the blood flowing rather than clotting. After surgery, at home, or when traveling, simply get up and walk around to exercise your legs. Walking is the most effective way to decrease your risk of forming blood clots. So on a long road trip, stop frequently at a rest stop and walk around. And if you’re flying, wait for the fasten seat belt sign to turn off and walk about the cabin!

 

Again, as long as you’re feeling well, your incisions are healing nicely, there’s no carte blanche prohibition against traveling after surgery. But of course, ask your surgeon just to be safe. And if you’re looking for a doctor near you, as well as their pricing, click here.

 

One thought on “How soon can I travel after surgery?

  1. Pingback: How soon can I travel after surgery? San Francisco | Dr. Jonathan Kaplan

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