Sitting on an Aeroplane After Liposuction?

8 days ago I had liposuction on my love handles, abdomen, inner and back of thighs. The only comfortable position is laying on my stomach. Sitting down upright puts me in excruciating pain. I have a 9hr flight tomorrow, I expected there to be pain of sorts but I didn't think it would be this bad I have spoken to the surgeon who performed the lipo and unfortunately there isn't anything he can do. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make myself more comfortable for this plane ride?

Doctor Answers 4

Liposuction, Pain Control, and Airplanes

Your question is complex and very valid.  The question you ask brings up several issues.   First is air travel safe after liposuction?  Yes, it  is,  but there are conditions.   The fact that you are 8 days out from surgery is okay.  A 9 hour flight is pretty long.  Blood clots and pulmonary embolism are more common on long flights and in surgical patients in the period after  surgery.   So you are a double risk.  You must get up and walk for 10 minutes every hour to be safe.   You must wear official anti embolism stockings to be safe.  You must take an adult aspirin every 8 hours starting the day before your flight and continue for the flight and 3 days afterward.  To really be safe, you should  fly first class for a nine hour flight, so you can easily get up and walk about.   In addition first class will allow you to adjust your position and be far more comfortable.   You must stay very well hydrated throughout.  Drink an 8 ounce glass of water every hour.   Do not drink alcohol.   So that's it for the flight safety.  As far as pain is concerned possibly you should increase the aspirin to two every 4 hours.  48 hours after liposuction it is absolutely safe to take aspirin as long as there are no complications.  Bleeding will not occur.  You should be able to keep comfortable with some  Vicodin or Percocet plus a little Valium.  Have the flight attendant awake you for the walk and water etc.   In first class you will be well cared for.   If pain persists,  I find Neurontin can be a nice help for some patients,  and the Valium and narcotic medication can be avoided or lessened.  Do not use alcohol as a pain medication.  This works poorly and increases dehydration and risk of blood clots.   If you follow these guideline you should be okay.  I do worry some about a nine hour flight, so take these precautions seriously.  My best,  Dr C

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Flying after Liposuction or Tummy Tuck

     I do not recommend flying within 2 weeks after tummy tuck, because this procedure has the highest incidence of DVT with PE.  With liposuction, the risk is not as high, but plane trips longer than 2 hours are probably not a good idea either.  I do not perform tummy tucks on patients from far away locales unless they plan on staying in the area for the early postoperative period.  There is little evidenced based medicine to support firm guidelines or recommendations on timing of air travel after individual procedures.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Long Flight After Liposuction

Unfortunately with that many areas treated, you could be in lots of pain after surgery. This is why we recommend that even if you do return to normal activities, you do so gradually and as tolerated. I suggest you try to ambulate as much as you can during the flight, stay hydrated, and take your pain medications as prescribed. Ideally, you'd postpone the trip until you're feeling better.


Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Air travel after liposuction

You had a lot of liposuction and I am wondering how you came to schedule a flight nine days after surgery. My recommendation would be to reschedule the trip because nine hours is a long time to be on a plane and in pain. I agree that you are at higher than average risk for a pulmonary embolism and, once the plane is in the air, it's not easy to turn around because a passenger is in distress. If you are a "medical tourist" then this is an important cautionary tale. You should discuss Dr. Cummins' recommendations with your surgeon prior to traveling to determine if they are applicable to your case.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 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.