Plastic Surgery and Air Travel: What Patients Should Know By on April 01, 2015

A woman with her eyes shut in profileThe team here at Mesna Plastic Surgery believes that patients who visit us from the greater Minneapolis area should understand what to do before surgery and after surgery. Patient education helps us achieve excellent facial plastic surgery results, and allows patients to achieve total wellness.

With this in mind, we receive a number of questions from patients about flying after they have undergone surgery. Let's look at the health and safety concerns that are involved right now.

Is air travel safe after plastic surgery?

No, especially not soon after surgery.

Healing takes time, and the cabin pressure, dry/recycled air, and cramped conditions of air travel can all lead to a number of serious health risks. Waiting until your surgeon says it's okay to fly is the most ideal action to take.

The Dangers of Air Travel After Surgery

There are a number of serious risks and dangers that people face when it comes to air travel after surgery. You will be more susceptible and attuned to pain and discomfort since you have undergone surgery, for one. Yet the most serious risk/danger of air travel after plastic surgery is deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism (DVT/PE)

DVT is a condition in which blood clots form in a person's veins. PE refers to a condition in which the blood clots travel into a person's lungs.

Air travel after surgery makes these conditions more likely since people sit for long amounts of time. The dry air that's low in humidity and lack of hydration on a flight make both conditions more likely. Risks such as these should not be taken.

How long should I wait to travel by plane?

This can vary from patient to patient based on the surgery that is performed. As a general rule, patients will want to wait at least 10 days to two weeks to fly after they have had surgery of any kind performed. Sometimes patients will be advised to take additional time away from planes just to ensure proper healing.

What to Consider When Flying After Surgery

When you do finally fly after surgery, there is still a potential risk off DVT/PE since your body is still recovering. In order to address these matters, it's a good idea to consider the following:

  • Be Active Before Your Flight - Get the blood moving and circulating in your body before you fly. Be sure to walk around before getting on the plane.
  • Walk the Aisles on Your Flight to Promote Circulation - Even if you are sitting for a few hours on the plane, be sure to get up and walk/stretch to continue proper circulation in your legs and extremities.
  • Pick Your Seat Carefully - Since you'll want to stand and stretch as you fly, an aisle seat tends to be ideal so you won't disturb your fellow passengers. To reduce turbulence, it's generally better to be seated near the wings.
  • Stay Well Hydrated at All Times - Bring water with you on the flight and be sure to ask your flight attendant for water as needed. Staying hydrated can make a major difference.

Schedule a Consultation at Mesna Plastic Surgery

For more information about air travel after you have undergone a plastic surgery procedure of some kind as well as other matters related to healing and wellness, be sure to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery center today. The team at Mesna Plastic Surgery will help you achieve great aesthetic results while ensuring your overall health and wellness.

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Dr. Gregory T. Mesna

Mesna Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center

Gregory T. Mesna MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of top-level experience. He performs a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance and rejuvenate the face, body, and breasts. He is proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons

You can request a free consultation at our office in Minneapolis, MN, by contacting us online or calling (952) 927-4556.

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