When Can I Fly After Surgery?

By Dr Wolf on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Knowing when you can fly after surgery can be a tricky decision. As each surgery differs, the timing between having surgery and being able to fly differs too. When it comes to flying after surgery it will depend on your airline and the procedure you had. Not only this, but flying after surgery will depend on how smoothly the operation went and how your recovery is coming along. 

 

The best option is to ask your doctor, or go for a check up before you go away just to get the all clear. However, if you’re looking for some general advice to help you decide whether flying after surgery is right for you then take a look below.

 

Why Is Flying After Surgery A Problem?

 

The main issue with flying after surgery is the risk of blood clots that can occur from sitting still for extended periods of time in a position that cuts off the blood supply to your legs. If you’re wanting to fly after surgery on your thighs, knees or hips then the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is increased.

 

You can take steps to reduce the risk of DVT, such as taking walks around the plane, stretching out and drinking lots of water. Due to the risk of blood clots in the legs, it is generally recommended that if you have had surgery on your legs you rest up and avoid flying for a longer time than other areas. Not only this, but many travel insurance companies won’t insure someone who has recently been in theatre, so it’s worth checking your policy before you fly.

 

It should also be noted that most reputable doctors don’t recommend flying overseas for surgery, since if something goes wrong with the procedure, or you need to pop back for a check up it’s not as easy. 

 

How Long Until I Can Fly After Surgery?

 

This really varies on a case to case basis, however you can take a look below for a general guideline depending on the procedure. The NHS guidelines are very useful, and detail how long you will need to rest before flying. Similarly to their guidelines, we recommend leaving it 4-5 days for safety.

 

Liposuction

 

As a minimally invasive procedure, patients can fly almost immediately after having liposuction. The biggest danger is DVT, however it is generally accepted that as long as patients can walk around the plane comfortably and their recovery is going well, they can fly after 24 to 48 hours. That being said, it is recommended to avoid long haul flights that increase the risk of complications and in general we would recommend patients leave it 4-5 days.

 

Breast Uplift

 

Short-haul flights can be taken 2 weeks after your procedure but long-haul flights will need to be avoided for 4-6 weeks.

 

Fat Transfer

 

As this is a more complicated surgery than liposuction, it is not recommended that patients fly for around a month until they are healed. Long flights will increase the chances of having an embolism if you are not completely recovered so it’s important to rest and allow the body to heal.

 

Face Lift

 

General advice says that you can take short haul flights after 48 hours of having a face lift. However, it is important to remember that the discomfort that you feel after this surgery can be heightened by being in uncomfortable positions where it’s likely you won’t be able to sleep. As with other procedures, we recommend leaving it about 4-5 days before flying.

If you’re wondering whether surgery is going to fit in with your holiday plans, get in touch today to find out how long it will take before you can fly again. Alternatively, if you’re looking for some extra reading, take a look at our blog article on how to lose belly fat.