Leaving Town for Mommy Makeover & Hernia Repair, is It a Bad Idea?

After being diagnosed with an umbilical/and super-umbilical hernia, I decided since I had to undergo surgery and recovery AGAIN(previous - myomectomy and 2 C-sections, most recent 4 1/2 years ago), I'd like to have something to look forward to. After 3 consults, in which a mini-tummy tuck with breast aug were recommended, I am flying out of state where I have family, to get my work done. The plan: follow up 7 days post-op and flying home that evening if approved by dr. (3 hour flt). Thoughts?

Doctor Answers 10

This may not be your last flight to this surgeon

Where I live in Seattle we get asked this type of question all the time from women who live in remote areas of Alaska, Montana and Idaho.  So the rules I have developed include the following.  First of all, in this situation you are going to have to be flexible.  If you are still having pain at day seven and don't feel like flying, or you are still having some minor problems, can your ticket be changed without an exhorbitant fee?  If you go home with your drains still in are you, with some instructions beforehand, capable of taking them out yourself or will you have to go to your family doctor?  Will that person be willing to get involved at all in your care?

I can answer many of your questions on the phone after you go home about how you are healing by looking at a digital photo of that area sent by e-mail.  But there is nothing that can substitute for a good old fashinoed follow up exam.  I know it is expensive to fly back but that is rule number two.  You may have to buck up and pay for it when you need my reasurance in person that everything is all right.

Given those parameters I see patients all the time who are totally satisfied that these types of arrangements worked out for them.  As long as safety comes first it can be done.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Out of town mommy makeover

The most important thing you can do to help your recovery is to follow your surgeon's pre and post operative care instructions. These instructions have been designed to facilitate the entire surgical experience, from the very beginning, before you even step into the operating room. The amount of time you need to recover really depends on your body, and it's quite difficult to determine if the amount of time suggested for you is adequate. You can look at how you recovered from other surgeries you've had in the past - did you need a lot of time or were you back to daily activities sooner than later? Generally, if you're healthy and follow your surgeon's care instructions, you should be okay in the time period suggested by your surgeon.  

I recommend traveling with one or two people who you can trust and can help you during your stay. That way, you'll be more comfortable dealing with the recovery period. If you're traveling alone, you may be able to hire a nurse in that city to help you out instead. When traveling home, you'll still be in a delicate state. Make sure to make regular stops so you can walk around and keep the blood circulating to prevent the formation of deep clots.

Here are some tips that I provide my patients following their Mommy Makeover:
1. Make sure you reduce any pulling on the incisions from your tummy tuck. You can walk slightly bent forward and when lying down, keep pillows under your knees and head so you're bent at the waist (or sleep on your side in a slight fetal position).
2. Don't lie around all day during your recovery. Walk around a bit to help your circulation. This helps to prevent deep clots in your leg veins and can help with the recovery process.
3. For your breasts, make sure you don't make any sudden jerky movements and move your arms slowly.
4.Wear your compression garment for the entire time your surgeon specifies.

Finally, make sure you have a doctor or surgeon who can provide you with assistance once you get back home. Any complications should be reported to them immediately (as well as to your performing surgeon), wherever you are.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Flying out of town for Mommy Make-Over

Many patients choose to travel out of their immediate area to have cosmetic surgery.  I don't see that as a problem at all.  If you have family to take care of you, that is great.  My main concern about leaving the area 1 week post op surgery would be the drains.  Normally, with a tummy tuck procedure, you will have drains that need to be removed (on average 1-3 weeks post op) so you would need to have another surgeon back home that could take care of that for you.  Keep in close communication with your surgeon after you leave.

I have many out of state patients who fly in for surgery and they understand that if they end up having a complication, they may need to fly back to see me OR if they choose, they can see a local surgeon.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,484 reviews

Leaving Town for Mommy Makeover & Hernia Repair, is It a Bad Idea?

I would recommend at least a 10 day follow up within the contingency if you are doing OK to leave in 7 days. See if the PS in the out of town area for your surgery has a colleague in your hometown to see you if there is an issue. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Need to consider some of the issues with out of town cosmetic surgery

Many people do go out of town for their cosmetic surgery for a variety of reasons but there are several issues that you need to consider. One week follow-up is not long enough for what you are undergoing. Unless you have a plastic surgeon back home who is willing to see you in follow-up, you may not be able to obtain the most ideal care if needed. How will you deal with potential complications or untoward issues, even minor ones like open wounds, delayed healing, sutures coming through the skin, accumulation of fluid (seroma) or even a drain that needs to be in place for more than a week?

A three hour flight for frequent enough follow-up can add up to be very expensive. Furthermore, the traveling would be associated with an increased risk for clots in your legs and lungs (risk is elevated after surgery). A much shorter flight/distance would be more ideal if you have to have your surgery elsewhere.

These are just some things to think about before embarking on this approach.


Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Leaving town for a tummy tuck

Flying out of town for a tummy tuck brings up three issues. If you have insurance for your hernia repair, leaving town might place you out of your network, so double check to see if your coverage might be at risk. Second, the issue of travel home, the risk of blood clots is real, and you may wish to look into special stockings for your flight, and walk frequently. Aspirin has no proven benefit in reducing DVT. Finally, if you develop a seroma or delayed healing, who will care for the other surgeon's work?

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Flying Out of State for Mommy Makeover

In general, you should be carefully followed by your surgeon for at least 2-4 weeks after a Mommy Makeover, and thereafter less freqeuntly than that.  If for example, you have drains for the tummy part, they usually stay for 1-2 weeks.  You need to be prepared to come back to see your surgeon as early as 2 weeks after the surgery (for drain management or care of any post-operative problems) if you are flying home after a week, and then return as often as necessary.  You should not rely on a local doctor to take care of any complications or manage your post-operative care, but rather the surgeon who did the procedure.  

Arnold S. Breitbart, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

But what if you have a late problem.

I am always a proponent of local surgery, providing there are competent board certified plastic surgeons. What happens if you have a complication 8 or more days post surgical? Are you going to fly back to the operating Doc? Who will take care of you at home? Even though both of the other doctor's answers are correct and you can fly, there are other considerations.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Mommy Makeover out of town

In general I think it is fine to stay where your surgeon is for a week, then fly home after that.  It is important to get up a few times during the flight and walk around.  Surgery is a risk factor for blood clots in your legs and so is sitting for prolonged periods of time.  I think the Aspirin suggestion is a good one if your surgeon is ok with it.  

Of course, complications can come up after a week. It may be harder to deal with some of them once you get home, and your surgeon is out of town.  Maybe I am biased though, since my office is 5 minutes from Richardson.  Good luck. 

Laurence Weider, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Mommy makeover

Not sure I really understand your question. I think you are asking if it is OK to fly 7 days after your mommy makeover. Most likely "yes" though you will still be a bit sore from the tummy tuck. Also, hydrate well and plan to get up several times during the flight in order to keep the blood moving and avoid blood clots. You might also ask your surgeon if it would be OK to start some aspirin a few days after surgery. Good luck.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 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.