Getting ready to take a flight after undergoing plastic surgery can be an intimidating experience. You may have questions about how to prepare for the journey, what you should expect during the flight, and how to make sure your recovery is not compromised.
Knowing the answers to these questions can help ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible and that you remain comfortable throughout. Here are some important things you should know about flying after your plastic surgery.
Caption: Ready for Takeoff: What to Consider When Flying After Plastic Surgery
Can You Fly After Plastic Surgery?
In many situations, it is safe to fly after plastic surgery—but not always. The surgeon should provide standard postoperative instructions, and cosmetic surgeries like facelifts, neck lifts, and blepharoplasty cosmetic surgery include a two-week to two-month no-fly standard based on an increased risk of blood clots and irritation in the treated area. However, flying restrictions are not necessary in many cases after otoplasty (ear pinning), rhinoplasty (nose job), brow lift, or minor chin augmentation.
How Soon Can You Travel?
You may travel after plastic surgery based on your provided aftercare instructions. In some cases, like after an ear pinning procedure, you may travel immediately after the procedure. In other cases, after blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) or a facelift, you must wait two weeks to two months after the surgery to travel by plane.
For example, lifting a suitcase could be a problem for a patient who must limit lifting items over 5 to 15 pounds for three to four weeks after a facelift or rhinoplasty procedure. However, you may travel sooner than two months if you plan carefully, have a partner carry your luggage, and schedule a shuttle or wheelchair to reduce overdoing it after surgery.
Check with Your Doctor Before Flying
Before flying after plastic surgery, it is important to check with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to provide you with specific instructions on how soon you can fly and what precautions you should take during the flight. They may also recommend certain medications or treatments that can help reduce the risk of complications while in the air.
Your doctor may also advise you to wear compression garments or bandages during the flight to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Additionally, they may suggest that you bring extra pillows for support and a cold compress for any areas that are sore or tender.
It is also important to discuss any potential risks associated with flying after plastic surgery with your doctor before taking off. 2
What Makes Flying a Risk After Surgery?
Travel by air is generally considered one of the safest methods of travel, but it can pose health risks even if you aren’t recovering from surgery. These risks are heightened during your recovery period, which is when you’re likely to be traveling.
Venosclerosis is a particularly alarming hazard for patients, especially if the format is a deep vein thrombosis. A deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a clot that congeals in the lower veins. The clot can gradually swell without being discovered. Eventually, the clot can reach such a magnitude that small sections break loose and start moving throughout the bloodstream. Should one of these pieces obstruct your heart, you could have a cardiac arrest. If it blocks your brain, you could experience a stroke. If it gets trapped in your lungs, you could suffer from a pulmonary embolism. All of these outcomes are possibly deadly, therefore making DVT such a serious issue.
Why Are Patients More Vulnerable to DVTs After Surgery?
Surgery is a controlled trauma to your body; that is, it is being deliberately injured to give you the best results after you recover. Any time your body is injured, the blood clotting mechanism goes to work. Your blood clots to prevent you from losing too much blood and protect your body from things like infection. After surgery, that mechanism has to work overtime to help multiple parts of your body at once and allow you to heal properly. All that extra clotting power has the potential to create a DVT.
It is important to remember that the risks associated with flying after a cosmetic procedure can vary depending on the type of surgery and how many days or weeks have passed since the procedure. For example, if you had a minor procedure such as liposuction, it may be safe to fly within a few days after surgery. However, for more invasive procedures like facelifts or rhinoplasty, it is best to wait at least two weeks before flying in order to reduce the risk of complications. Additionally, your doctor may advise you to take extra precautions such as wearing compression garments or bringing extra pillows for support during your flight.
Why Does Flying Increase the Risk of DVTs?
DVTs tend to form when people are sitting in one position for long periods of time. On a plane, you’re doing exactly that, especially if the flight is long. There is limited space available for you to stretch and move around in order to keep your blood moving. Your access to fluids is also limited to what you bring with you and what you can get from the flight attendants. Fluids are important in keeping your blood flow steady. These factors can cause a blood clot to form, which could lead to a DVT.
For those who have undergone major surgery or surgical procedures, it is especially important to take extra precautions when flying. The healing process can be long and complex, and the risk of developing a DVT increases with the amount of time that has passed since the procedure. It is best to wait at least two weeks after any major surgery before flying, as this will give your body enough time to heal properly and reduce the risk of complications. Additionally, you should wear compression garments during your flight and bring extra pillows for support in order to keep your blood flowing properly.
You Can Reduce Your Risk of DVTs
While DVTs are a very real threat to your health, there are ways that you can reduce your risk of acquiring one. First and foremost, you need to discuss your travel plans with your surgeon, including those you plan to undertake in the months after your surgery. They can advise you on the best travel methods and ways to keep you safe. They can also help you plan your procedure accordingly.
When mapping out your surgery travel plans, give yourself an adequate recovery period afterward. It is suggested that you stay in the area for at least one week due to the potential risks in the days following the procedure and to have access to medical care in case of any issues.
When you do travel, and especially if you fly, choose accommodations that allow you the most maneuverability. Choose an exit row or economy plus seat to give yourself room to stretch. An aisle seat gives you access to the aisle so you can get up and move around during the flight.
Prior to boarding the plane, try and remain as vigorous as feasible, even if it simply means standing rather than sitting. Being active encourages your blood flow, which will act to protect you during the flight. Find an empty water container, fill it ahead of your start to the plane journey, and attempt to drink water all through the flight. Should you need any extra fluids, do not be scared to ask the flight attendant.
As an extra precaution, it’s also a really good idea to have someone accompany you on the flight. They can assist you with your bags, help you get around, and generally watch out for your well-being. Having someone on hand to get you help in the event of an emergency could save you a lot of trouble and even save your life.
Dr. Bustillo and Out-of-Town Patients
Dr. Andres Bustillo and the other members of his staff are well-practiced in assisting patients outside of the South Florida area. From making your travel arrangements to helping you find accommodations to getting you through your recovery, Dr. Bustillo makes your plastic surgery trip less stressful and more enjoyable. As a facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Bustillo offers a variety of surgical and nonsurgical procedures for the face, neck, and head. He is very dedicated to producing superior results for his patients and to keeping them safe throughout the entire surgical process. To learn more about Dr. Bustillo’s out-of-town patient process, discuss any of his available procedures, or schedule a consultation, call (305) 663-3380