What Happens to Breast Implants on a Plane Trip?

How are breast implants affected by altitude or high pressure? Are there some changes to implants at high altitude? What happens and what precautions are needed?

Doctor Answers 24

Are Breast Implants Attected by Air Travel?

No, No, No, and NO.      There is 100% no problem flying on an airplane after breast implants.  In fact you can become an astronaut if you like and do space travel.  One astronaut  had breast implants in her college years and then flew in the shuttle.   Did her implants explode?  Implode?  No and No again.  Her implants tarveled to the space station with her and returned happily.  If your liver, heart, brain, anf big toe can fly in safety so can your breast implants.  They become part of you  Enjoy them and fear NOT.  Dr George Commomns

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Nothing will happen to your implants regardless of the altitude

When I was in training one of my plastic surgeon professors had been a flight surgeon before becoming a plastic surgeon. He was still active with the aerospace program and there for had access to the altitude chamber. He like many, felt that if you ended up at a very high altitude, there would be significant problems with your implants. So he set up a camera to video the implant and then used the chamber to take the atmospheric pressure to extremely high altitudes. He was surprised to see nothing happened. He then thought that being stretchy the implant had enlarged but you just didn't see it. So he put it in a jar of water where he was sure that the water would come splashing out. Again nothing happened. So the absolute and final answer is that nothing will happen to you or your implants even if you were to find yourself at extreme altitudes but you better have an oxygen mask to keep you alive because of the problem with getting the oxygen your body needs. Your implants will also not be affected by scuba diving to significant depths. 

As to the answer that there are little air bubbles that could expand, after a reasonable amount of time, several weeks, there will be not air bubbles in your tissue. 

So worry not, this is not an issue to worry about. 

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

It's an urban myth

I understand there was a certain airline company several years ago that spread a rumour. They were finding that a lot of their staff were taking time off after their cabin crew were getting breast implant surgery, so they started spreading a rumour that implants could explode in mid air. So, the crew stopped getting implants and normal flight services were resumed!

Nothing should happen to the implants, but whenever implants are inserted, there's a small amount of air that goes into the pocket which your body absorbs after a few days. The air may expand a bit and so you may feel like there's bubble wrap inside you and you're popping it. That's harmless, though

Taimur Shoaib, MD
Glasgow Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Breast Implants and flying

Hi and thank you for your question.
It is perfectly safe to fly with breast implants. You do not need to take any precautions and should have no concerns while flying. Best of luck!

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Effect of altitude and pressure on breast implants

Altitude and pressure have no effect on breast implants.  Flying after surgery can be a problem only if you have to tote and lift heavy bags in the early post-op period. 

Fly, SCUBA, parasail, parachute jump; enjoy life.  Most surgeons would recommend waiting for six weeks afer surgery, though, before engaging in vigorous physical activity that might impact your chest.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Effect of altitude on breast implants

You may be surprised, but I get this question a lot.  As far as pressure goes, there is high pressure and low pressure.

On an airplane, you have low pressure.  Typically, the interior of the plane is pressurized (certainly for any commercial airplane or any airplane going very high), but not pressurized all the way to sea level pressure.

Scuba diving is high pressure.  You typically get one atmosphere of pressure for every 33 feet of depth, so at 33 feet, you have two atmospheres, at 66 feet three atmospheres, and 99 feet four atmospheres.

As you learn in scuba class, pressure (at least in the range that will not kill a human) only affects gas, not fluid or solid.  The implant will not be affected, since it is not gas.  A recently placed saline implant may have a tiny bit of air still in it, but that should not be a problem.

However, there will be air around the implant when you have recently had surgery.  That is why you may notice a gurgling sound when your implant moves if it has only been a few weeks since your surgery.  Often, the gurgling sound increases after a few weeks, as the tissues soften and the implant can move more.  Then, it will decrease after four to six weeks as the body absorbs the air.  The same thing happens with any surgery in any body cavity.

So, going up in an airplane after surgery, the air around the implant may expand due to the decreased pressure.  The cabin is typically pressurized to about 10,000 feet, so that probably will cause the air around the implant to increase in volume by about 40% (at 18,000 feet it would double in volume).

There is normally not a lot of air around the implant, so the increased volume is not likely to be a problem in most cases, but you should check with your surgeon if you are planning a plane trip or to go to very high altitudes within about six weeks of your surgery.

Other issues with flying include the increased of a blood clot in the calves with sitting in a cramped seat, so you should get up and walk around frequently during any flight.  Also, you should check with your surgeon about going in the ocean after surgery, to make sure that there won't be any problem exposing your incision to sea water.

James Nachbar, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

It is 100% Safe To Fly With Implants

This question is one of those examples of rumors or myths spreading. 

There are controversial issues in medicine, but this is one where all doctors agree. You and your implants are 100% safe.

I hope that answers your question concerning implants in planes. It’s great that you’re doing this research. I always say that the best patients are informed patients.

You might also want to research your options for breast implants. Choosing the right implant is the number one concern among women considering breast augmentation. Did you know, there’s actually a way to select a implant shape, size, and profile that is perfect for you?

A term that I use with my patients for the perfect implant is the “Pony Implant”.

So what do I mean by “perfect”? Well, a Pony Implant has three qualities to it. First, the implant meets your beauty goals. For example, you want to your breasts to look fuller while still appearing natural.

Second, when you chose your Pony Implant, you walk out of your consultation 100% confident that you’ve chosen the right shape and size for you. In other words, you won’t be second guessing your decision, and you won’t be afraid of having gone too big or too small.

And third, after your procedure, you are thrilled with your results, and say, "I’m so happy. This is exactly what I wanted!"

That’s the Pony Implant. And the great news is that there is a simple process to go about finding yours.

This issue of selecting the right implant is so important when it comes to patient satisfaction or dissatisfaction that, again, I really encourage you to learn more about it.

Thank you for reading and best of luck on your journey!

William Rahal, MD
Beverly Hills Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

They go where ever you're going!

Hello, Breast implants are not affected by air travel, no precautions are needed. Have a fun trip!

William Aiello, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Breast implants on a Plane?

Thank you for your question.  Your breast implants will be fine on a plane and no matter how long your flight is.  There are no precautions to take as far as your implants are concerned.  Enjoy your trip!

Stephen T. Greenberg, MD
Woodbury Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Breast implants aren’t affected by altitude or high pressure.

Changes in cabin pressure associated with airplane travel will not have any impact on breast implants, nor will high altitude. The notion that either can affect breast implants is a common misconception that has no basis in truth. The only precaution involving breast augmentation and flying is if you plan to travel within the first couple of weeks following surgery. In this event, it’s important to get your surgeon’s clearance before your flight and to get up and walk around the cabin every hour to help prevent against blood clotting.

Frank Campanile, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.