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Why You Should Avoid Air Travel After Surgery

Why You Should Avoid Air Travel After Surgery

It’s officially the holiday season, which is typically a popular time for many to undergo plastic surgery procedures. The holiday season also means a huge increase in airline travel as people crisscross the country and globe to see family and friends.

However, travelling by plane poses serious health risks to those who’ve recently had plastic surgery. As a plastic surgery office, we wanted to make you aware of the dangers of flying too soon after your surgery.

What is a blood clot?

To understand why flying after surgery is risky, it’s important to first understand blood clotting, which is your body’s natural and healthy response to injury. A blood clot is a clump of blood that has changed from a liquid to a semisolid state and sits inside your veins to help prevent blood loss after injury. Oftentimes, the clot will dissolve on its own, but not always. An undissolved clot could lead to a dangerous and even life-threatening situation.

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Clotting is especially concerning if the clot is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a clot that forms in the veins located deep inside the legs, arms, torso, and even brain. These clots can continue to grow undetected over time. Eventually, smaller pieces can break off and start travelling through the blood stream. If that piece gets stuck in your heart, you could have a heart attack. If it gets stuck in your brain, you could have a stroke. If it gets lodged in your lungs, you could have a pulmonary embolism. All of which can be fatal.

Why does this have to do with flying?

Essentially, flying after surgery is a perfect scenario for the formation of DVTs. DVTs tends to build up when people sit in one position for long periods of time, which is exactly what you do on a plane. Plus, there is limited access to fluids, which are extremely important to help your body dissolve clots and keep the blood flowing freely.

Can DVTs be prevented?

While DVTs are a very real threat to your health, there are ways that you can reduce your risk of acquiring one. Here are some basic tips:

  1. Discuss your travel plans with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Fodero who can help you plan your procedure accordingly and advise you on how to stay safe.
  2. Give yourself at least a week of recovery time before travelling. Flying is especially dangerous in the first few days following surgery.
  3. Choose travel accommodations, like an aisle seat, that allow you to stretch and move as much as possible during the flight.
  4. Be as active as you can before getting on the plane. Even just standing or pacing instead of sitting will increase blood flow and help protect you while on board.
  5. Drink extra water before the flight, and don’t be shy about asking the flight attendant for additional fluids during the flight.
  6. Avoid travelling alone. It’s a good idea to have someone who can help with your bags and generally watch out for your well-being. Plus, they’ll be there in case of an emergency situation.

 

Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.