How long before travel after major surgery?
March 23, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

How soon to travel after major surgery?

I am having a couple procedures done. I am having a tonsillectomy as well as a rhinoplasty the same day. A little less than two weeks later from my surgery date I'm supposed to be flying out of the country on a very long (15 hour) plane ride.

Is this flight something that I should put off? If so, why? My concern is I don't want to put thousands of dollars worth of surgery at risk, especially if I will still be feeling the effects of either of them and not back to my regular self.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
When you asked your doctor these questions, what did he or she tell you? If you haven't asked these medical questions of a person trained in medicine, like your doctor, then you need to get off the internet and do that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 AM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am not even close to a doctor, but two weeks sounds like a pretty good amount of time to get through the initial healing and recovery. In my limited experience (knee + dental surgeries) I've been ambulatory (both physically and mentally) after a few days. Seriously though, what do I know? My knee is not your nose.

[Obligatory "ask your doctor"]
posted by wrok at 8:21 AM on March 23, 2009

The major thing is going to the pressure changes: think about all the sinuses in your head. Don't get on the plane without getting the OK from your doctor.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:25 AM on March 23, 2009

The first answer is of course that you should ask your doctor.

But from personal experience I had a rhinoplasty a couple of years back and flew about 10 days laters on a seven hour flight. Everything was fine. The surgeon was okay with me travelling, and because they were aware of my trip plans they could naysay it if I wasn't fit enough.
posted by Sova at 8:25 AM on March 23, 2009

Call your doctor with years of clinical experience, not random strangers on the internet.
posted by gramcracker at 9:02 AM on March 23, 2009

After you speak to your doctor, ask if you can make a check up appointment the day or two before your flight so your doc can make sure everything's healing up ok and can unreservedly give you an ok to fly.
posted by spec80 at 9:47 AM on March 23, 2009

I had to miss a semester of college because of blood loss due to not spending enough time recuperating from similar surgery and subjecting myself to altitude changes.
posted by Kirklander at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2009

I took a transatlantic flight two weeks after undergoing surgery in a painful (only if you're of the male persuasion) area, and I was perfectly ok which was weird as the week before I could barely walk (and even then only when I was on painkillers). I asked my surgeon and he was fine with me traveling two weeks out as my recovery started slowly but after a week I felt better each and every day. You should ask yours but I would guess (and I really mean guess) that you should be ok.
posted by ob at 10:45 AM on March 23, 2009

Tonsillectomy, while very common and safe, can also be fatal in rare instances, particularly if patients don't take care of themselves. Basically, if your wound reopens, you can bleed to death. It takes only minutes. I would not recommend being on a plane without access to a hospital that soon after a tonsillectomy.
posted by decathecting at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2009

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