Effect of Flying on Fluid Retention Post Tummy Tuck?

I am having my surgery out of town and will be flying back home about 12 days post-tummy tuck. Does flying adversely affect the results in any way? Will it increase fluid retention or swelling? If yes, how long should I wait after the surgery to fly home?

Doctor Answers 5

Precautions to take when traveling after an abdominoplasty(tummy tuck)

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As long as you have no complications after surgery, then flying at 12 days should be fine. You should see your surgeon shortly before you leave the area.  

For patients that have long flights home, you are at greater risk for deep vein thrombosis (clots in your legs).  Minimizing this risk includes frequently ambulating during the flight, and exercising while in your seat (ankle and calf flexing  as well as toe pointing).  I also have my patients take an injection of blood thinner prior to getting on the plane.

You can swell while in flight due to the change in air pressure.  This will quickly return to normal after landing.

Lawrence S. Glassman, MD

New York Plastic Surgeon

When to travel after Tummy Tuck will depend on the details

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Hi there-

I think that average patient should be able to make a plane trip 2 weeks or so after surgery, provided that someone else is handling all luggage and that you give yourself time to get through the airport...

But please understand that if you asked me the related (but different) question of how long you should wait if you want the best, safest outcome, I would say my preference for my patients is that they wait longer than 12 days to travel.

Of course, the best person to answer your question in the most responsible way, considering their better understanding of the details of your procedure and what has been successful for them in the past, is your surgeon. Talk to them again.

Flying home after tummy tuck / montarse en un aviaon despues de abdominoplastia

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With an uncomplicated tummy tuck, flying home after 12 days should be fine.  There are several issues that you need to be aware of.  First you must walk during the flight.  Being sedentary could cause you to develop a deep vein thrombosis(blood clots in the leg). Second you leave before your drains have been removed you will need to find somebody to deal with them back home.  Third expect some increase in temporary swelling from the flight.  This should resolve quickly.  In general most patients can fly within 7-14 days without an issue.


Good luck, and thank you for your question.




Anire Okpaku MD


Si no ha tenido complicaciones con su abdominoplastia puede volar a su casa 12 dias despues de la cirugia. Pero hay algunos cuidados que usted deve de estar al tanto.  Primero usted deve de caminar durante el vuelo. El sedentarismo le puede causar trombosis en las venas internas (coagulos de sangre en las piernas). Segundo usted deve de viajar solamente despues de quitarse los drenages o va tener que buscar a un  doctor en su ciudad que lo haga. Tercero es normal tener un aumento  temporario de la inchazon debido al vuelo. Esto deve resolverse rapidamente. En general la mayoria de los pacientes pueden volar  a los 7-14 dias sin problemas.


Suerte y gracias por la pregunta


Anire Okpaku MD



Anire Okpaku, MD FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Flying after tummy tuck

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In order to answer your question, the length of the flight would be helpful. My concern is for followup care in a remote location so I would recommend that you remain near your plastic surgeon for closer to 3 weeks postop. If you have complications, then you should definitely reconsider going home prematurely.

Flying after tummy tuck

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Most plastic surgeons place drains after a tummy tuck procedure to allow any excess fluid build up to drain out.  After 12 days after surgery, you should be fine to fly.  Please follow your surgeon's recommendations for compression therapy (garments or binder).  Please talk to your PS about his/her specific recommendations and post surgical care plans.


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.