How Soon After Liposuction Can I Fly?

How soon after liposuction can I fly? Do I need to inform my doctor or take any precautions?

Doctor Answers 7

Flying and Liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

As with any surgery flying immediately after the procedure is not recommended due to increased risk of blood clots in your leg (DVT). Typically you should wait about 10-14days after surgery to fly. And then take the necessary precautions such as getting up to walk around during the flight, and wearing compression stockings. The risks factors more specifically depend on the type of anaesthesia used and the extent and length of your liposuction procedure. Also, you need to be in town for regular follow-up care required immediately after your surgery. Always discuss your plans with your surgeon.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Travel After Cosmetic Surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is in your best interest to inform your doctor of EVERYTHING. Holding secrets or deciding for yourself what is or may not be important to tell the doctor could be very dangerous.

What many of us choose to ignore is that surgery is an organized sterile assault on the body. We are breaking the skin barrier, modify multiple structures and hope the body will heal without any complications. However, that is not always the case.

Any surgery over 1 hour, in women, involving the tummy, pelvis or long bones, in those taking birth control pills, in the over-weight, in smokers and in those with a family history of sudden strokes carries an increased risk of blood clot formation in the legs and or pelvis which may become dislodged and travel to the lungs (Pulmonary embolus). The surgery itself could stimulate such clots in some people.

For this reason, confining oneself to a car or airplane seat for more than an hour after surgery poses an increased risk for blood clot formation and possible pulmonary embolus. I would recommend waiting 10-14 days before traveling and when traveling you need to move your feet frequently and keep hydrated.

Another issue about traveling associated with seating is the constant, long standing in folding the pressure garment may have on the freshly liposuctioned areas. In effect, causing imprinting of the garment creases on the underlying areas.

I would allow for enough healing after surgery before traveling over 2 hours by car or plane without stopping.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Travel after liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Air travel and car travel especially over long distances carries a risk of a blood clot in the leg or DVT - deep venous thrombosis. The risk of DVT is higher after surgery particularly with sugery that is extensive and involves general anesthesia. The risk of DVT is markedly reduced after tumescent liposuction for a number or reasons - generallly the area treated is small due to limitations of tumescent anesthesia, the cannulas used are smaller and the procedure less traumatic to the tissue so there is quicker recovery and return to normal activity levels - most importanly walking which we encourage the day after the procedure, and NO general anesthesia is administered.

You can reduce your risk of DVT by ambulating frequently during your flight or long car ride, flexing your calf muscles often, wearing knee high or thigh high medical compression stockings of at least 12-18 mm Hg pressure or higher, and drinking lots of fluid.

There is no guarantee but if you follow the above advice, have a small area of liposuction without general anesthesia, and are healthy, active and a non-smoker, your risk of DVT should be minimal even 4-5 days after tumescent liposuction.

Elizabeth F. Rostan, MD
Charlotte Dermatologist

You might also like...

Liposuction and flying

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is a question that comes up often. There is no definite answer for this question. I would say that the biggest risk is a deep vein thrombosis. You should stay well hydrated and move around often on the plane.  I think that you can probably go on a plane within a week of your surgery as long as you are comfortable.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Increased risk

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I would tell your doctor for sure.  I prefer that the patients refrain from flying for 2 weeks after surgery.  Your risk for deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the legs) is higher with flying after lipo.

Liposuction and Flying

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The length of time before you can fly after liposuction surgery varies from patient to patient. There are a number of factors involved in determining the length of time before you fly, including:

  • the extent of liposuction performed
  • the anesthesia used
  • your overall health

You should meet with your surgeon before flying to ensure that he/she would clear you to fly.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Travel & Avoiding Blood Clots Following Liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Travel of any type following cosmetic surgery can potentially complicate the postoperative course. In most cases, patients have recovered sufficiently to travel in about two weeks following liposuction.
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 DVTs, can potentially represent a life-threatening phenomenon when they occur.
There are several risk factors associated with the development of DVTs. 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 postoperative period, make sure you discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon. It’s important to remember that every patient’s situation is unique. For this reason, treatment needs to be individualized for every patient.

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.