6 Tips for Flying After Plastic Surgery

Christie Auyeung Plastic Surgery, Travel Leave a Comment

As traveling abroad for plastic surgery continues to become more popular, one question is becoming more common: “Is it safe to travel after plastic surgery?”

The short answer is that as long as you are following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions, you should not experience problems on your way home. Most surgeons recommend staying in the area for at least one or two days after your surgery in case any immediate complications occur. Major surgeries like breast augmentation or a tummy tuck will require you to stay at least a week before traveling.

Flying After Surgery

If you are using a car or taking a train, your travel restrictions are lower and you might be able to go home sooner, depending on the type of surgery. However, if you are planning to fly, you may need to stay in the area longer and take a few extra precautions on the plane.

Flying after surgery is riskier for a number of reasons. The primary concern is something called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. After undergoing surgery, your body’s clotting mechanism is working extra hard. That’s a good thing, because it protects your injured tissues and keeps you from bleeding. But if a clot forms in your deep veins, like in your thigh, the clot can become very large. If pieces of it break off, travel through the veins and make it to your lungs, heart or brain, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke. Yikes!

Sitting still for long periods of time without stretching, which is common when traveling by plane, can make you more prone to developing DVT. Throw in the decreased humidity and lack of fluids on the plane, and it could mean serious trouble.

The good news is that there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of DVT. If you take the necessary precautions, you should be able to travel home safely after your plastic surgery.

Here are 6 tips for flying after plastic surgery:

  1. Talk with your surgeon

Share your travel plans with your surgeon, both your plans for returning home and any plans for upcoming travel. Checking with your doctor first can help you avoid plans that increase your risk of complications.

  1. Stay for a while

It’s a good idea to stick around after surgery, so that you can be close to your doctor in case any serious complications occur. Depending on the surgery, your doctor will give you a recommendation for how long to wait before traveling home. The more complex the surgery, the longer you’ll need to stay. This could be a great time for some well-deserved sightseeing and relaxation!

  1. Use the buddy system

Consider bringing someone with you when going abroad for surgery, like a close friend or family member. That way, you want have to drive around yourself or carry heavy bags, and you’ll have someone with you to offer emotional support as you recover. Your companion can also remind you to stay hydrated and help you get care in case of emergency. 

  1. Be active

Try your best to be active before getting on the plane. Even if you’re just standing, it’s better than sitting for even longer than you have to on the plane. When you keep moving, you reduce the likelihood you’ll develop a blood clot, so mustering any energy you have to be active is definitely in your favor. 

  1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before flying. This helps keep your blood moving, which will also help prevent blood clots. Bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport and fill it up before boarding.

  1. Pick a good seat

Even choosing your seat wisely can help prevent blood clots. The closer you are to the wings of the airplane, the smoother the ride will be, and the more comfortable you will be. Aisle seats make it easier to get up and walk around during the flight. And an exit row will give you more room to stretch your legs. So do the best you can to pick your seat carefully!

If you have open communication with your doctor, follow aftercare instructions, and use the above 6 tips, you should be in good shape for a safe flight home and a smooth recovery.

Interested in plastic surgery abroad? Contact one of our world-class surgeons today.

Christie is a UChicago grad currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, she enjoys tap dancing, learning to windsurf, and trying new foods.