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Traveling After Surgery – Tips for the Trip

In the past couple decades, plastic surgery has become mainstream. Patients are able to find information about procedures, doctors, and even other patient experiences with ease. 

A major trend that continues to gain traction is traveling for plastic surgery. 

People travel near and far to get the procedure they want from the doctor they like best. For patients looking to travel for surgery, here are a few tips on planning the trip.

Type of Travel

If you are using a car or taking the train to get to and from your surgery, your travel restrictions are significantly reduced and you may be able to go home sooner. If you are planning to fly, however, you will need to plan to stay in the area longer and take extra precautions for the flight home. For smaller surgeries, especially those above the waist, most surgeons will recommend that you stay in the area at least one to two days after surgery in case there are any complications that require immediate attention. However, major surgeries like breast augmentations or tummy tucks will need at least a week of downtime before any travel is attempted.

Why Is Flying Riskier?

Even though flying is the safest form of travel in the world, it can cause some serious problems. One of the chief concerns for surgeons is something called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. After surgery, your body’s clotting mechanism goes into overdrive to protect the injured tissues and keep you from bleeding out. If a clot forms in the deep veins, such as the ones in your thigh, the clot can become very large. Pieces of that clot can then break off and make their way to your lungs, heart, or brain, causing a pulmonary embolism, a heart attack, or a stroke. 

DVTs are a concern on flights because people are more prone to clotting when they are sitting still for long periods of time without getting up to stretch or move around. The risk of DVTs is also increased by the decreased humidity in the plane and a lack of fluids. 

How Can I Reduce My Risk of a DVT?

  • Share your travel plans with your doctor – Even if you live locally, you want to share your plan to get to and from surgery, plus any major travel plans you have in the near future. With the holidays coming up, many people fly to visit family. Check with your doctor before making plans to fly anywhere.
  • Stick around after surgery – You want to be close to your doctor in case something serious happens, and they’ll want to be available to you in emergencies. It also prevents you from having deal with the stress of travel right after undergoing major surgery. Your doctor will give you recommendations for the amount of time you should take to recover before going home depending on your surgery. Remember that the more extensive the surgery, the longer the necessary downtime.
  • Pick your seat carefully – When you do fly, there are a few seat choices on the plane that are better than others.  A seat near the wings will provide the smoothest ride, which will minimize your pain and discomfort. An aisle seat will make it easier to get up so you can stretch and move around during the flight. A bulkhead seat or exit row seat will give you extra leg room to stretch your legs and make you more comfortable. 
  • Be active before getting on the plane – Even if all you have the energy to do is to stand by a window and watch planes take off, it’s better than sitting for an hour or two before you’ll be sitting for even longer. Being active by walking around or standing keeps your blood moving and lowers your risk of clots.
  • Stay hydrated – Fluids are always important in recovery, especially in preventing DVTs. More liquids in your body keep your blood moving, reducing the amount and size of clots. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it right before getting on the plane.

Use the Buddy System

Something else to consider is bringing someone with you when you travel for your surgery. Having a friend or family member who can drive you around, handle your heavier bags, and sit next to you on the plane will give you a measure of security that you don’t have when you travel alone. Your travel buddy can also look out for your safety by keeping you hydrated and moving or by alerting someone if there is a problem.

Basile Plastic Surgery

Here at Basile Plastic Surgery, our staff is dedicated to making your experience with us as comfortable and easy as possible. Our patient care coordinator will work with you to help you find accommodations and make travel arrangements for before and after your surgery. Dr. Basile will be looking out for your safety and comfort as he works with you during the entire process.

If you have any questions about our procedures, facility, or how we can make your out-of-town experience a positive one, contact our office. We offer a free initial consultation which can be conducted in person or remotely using the phone,email, or video conferencing. Call us today so we can get started on bringing out the best version of you and provide assistance with near and far travel needs!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.