How Soon Can I Fly Home After the Facelift?

Living overseas, and I want to know how long after a facelift I should wait before traveling?

Doctor Answers 17

Flying after a facelift

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The risk of flying in less than 2 weeks after a facelift is that if your HR and BP went up unexpectedly, you could have a hematome up to the 2 week point. Also, a long flight like to Israel carries DVT and PE risks so you need to be up walking every hour on the way home. Stay AT LEAST 2 weeks if you want to do this right.

Flying Home after Facelift

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Approximately 75% of our surgical patients fly domestically and internationally from other locations for their operations. Depending on the the extent of their facelift, they return home 7-10 days after surgery.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Living Overseas and Facelift

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A facelift, if just a standard SMAS plication or elevation, is well on its way to being healed after 2 weeks. Although there will be some residual swelling the pressure differential in the plane will not result in a change in the outcome or increase the risks of complications. So long and short of it is that 2 weeks should be sufficient.

With that said if a more significant surgery is performed perhaps a longer period may be necessary.

Flying home after a facelift

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At our office we require the patient to come back 24 and 48 hours after surgery and then at day 7 and day 10 after surgery.  It is not uncommon for patients to go out of town (2-3 hours away) between day 3 and day 7.  When our clients fly in from out of state we ask for them to stay in the vicinity for 10 days before leaving or we set up another physician to follow up with them in their home state. 

For you living in another country we would just have you stay for 10 days.

Flying AFTER a Facelift

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The concerns attached to medical tourism are the management of potential immediate complications, the safety of travel and the long term management of any complications by a surgeon who did NOT operate on you.

I would wait 7-14 days before considering any travel assuming there were no complications but would be happier if you stayed locally for 2 weeks.

I would also ascertain that your surgeon has an agreement with colleagues in Israel (or vice versa) to look after you once you return. Most surgeons may feel awkward being asked to care for you after surgery elsewhere when they were not considered good enough to do your operation in the first place.

Israel has GREAT Plastic surgeons known to many of us (especially in Ramat Gan, Hertzellia and Jerusalem) who probably charge less than the fees charged in the US. So travelling here does not make much sense on several levels.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Travel after a facelift

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I usually request my patients remain in the area about 2 weeks to make sure everything is proceeding normally. If patients live several hours away I ask they stay here 2 days then come back a week later and 2 weeks later.

The reason I request staying 2 weeks after surgery is to prevent a number of complications including pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs).

I hope this helps you and wish you good luck on your surgery. Have you seen any plastic surgeons in Israel? There certainly are quite a few.

Discuss Immediate Post-Operative Travel With Your Surgeon!

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Travel of any type following facelift surgery can potentially complicate the post-operative course, in most cases, patients have recovered sufficiently to travel in about two weeks following surgery.
Air travel often involves prolonged periods of immobilization and because of this, patients may be at risk for the development of blood clots in their extremities. These blood clots, known as DVT’s can potentially represent a life threatening phenomenon when they occur.
There are several risk factors associated with the development of DVT’s. These include the length of the surgical procedure, use of hormonal replacements, or birth control pills, cigarette smoking, obesity, a history of cancer, family history of hypercoagulability, advanced age and a previous history of blood clots.
When travel is necessary following cosmetic surgery, every step should be taken to avoid this potential complication. Patients should use anti embolic compression stockings, maintain hydration, and ambulate frequently when traveling. In patients who have multiple risk factors, anticoagulants such as lovenox may be necessary.
If you have plans for travel in the immediate post-operative period make sure you discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon, It’s important to remember that every patients situation is unique. For this reason, treatment needs to be individualized for every patient.

Flying after facelift

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Since you're flying overseas, two weeks is sufficient after your facelift to fly. The risk of hematoma formation and post op complication is reduced.

Kevin Sadati, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 224 reviews

Travel after a Facelift

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Patients who travel from out of town for facelifts generally can leave town five to seven days after surgery. Most can have virtual consultations and then fly in for surgery with a final consultation in person on the day before surgery. Longer flights after surgery would add a few more days in town. 

Steven Goldman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Flying after Facelift

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I advise patients to wait a minimum of 8 days prior to flying and leaving town; this is only if the patient had an unremarkable recovery period without complications.  At day 7, we remove stitiches in front of the ear and they are allowed to travel the next day.  The longer you can stay in town close to your surgeon the better. 

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 50 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.