Traveling to another state to get your surgery? Before you get on the plane, you should be aware of a rare but real condition commonly known as surgical flight syndrome.
On their own, air travel and surgery both serve as risk factors for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where a blood clot develops in the veins, and pulmonary embolism (PE), when a blood clot breaks off and gets trapped in the lungs. Experienced in close succession, the threat of DVT and PE naturally increases.
To ensure a safer experience when traveling for surgery, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recommends the following:
- If possible, do not fly within the first few days after major surgery.
- Do not carry heavy luggage for several weeks after surgery.
- Stay hydrated by drinking eight ounces of water for each hour in flight, avoiding dehydrating beverages like coffee and alcohol.
- Stay active by performing exercises in your seat or walking around the cabin whenever possible.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and avoid surgical compression binders.
- Inform your doctor(s) of any planned extended airline travel, as there may be additional, individualized recommendations.
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