How long should I wait to travel after Breast Lift with Implants?

hi, i am having a breast lift with implants and want to visit family afterwards, it is a 6 hour plane ride. i won't be doing anything there really but i am not sure how i will feel and if i will be up for traveling. I plan to go 2 and a half weeks after surgery, do you think this is enough time to wait? keep in mind i do have a fairly LOW pain tolerance. thank you

Doctor Answers 9

Travel After Breast Augmentation With Lift

Travel of any type following cosmetic surgery can potentially complicate the post-operative course. In most cases, patients have recovered sufficiently to travel in about two weeks following breast augmentation with breast lift 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 DVTs can potentially represent a life threatening phenomena 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 replacement 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 stockings, maintain hydration and ambulate frequently when traveling. In patients who have multiple risk factors, anticoagulants such as Lovenox may be necessary.

It's important that you discuss your plans for travel in the immediate post-operative period with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to outline a plan that addresses your travel plans.

Traveling after Breast Lift with Implants

Things you should remember for optimum post operative healing from your breast lift.

Our patients are typically placed in a supportive dressing and given a post op appointment for the next day. The initial discomfort is easily controlled with long acting local anesthetic and oral medication.

We ask our patients to avoid any strenuous activities for several days sometimes weeks due to recovery; such as lifting heavy luggage or moving furniture. However early light exercises are encouraged especially walking.

If you MUST travel, my advice to you is stay well-hydrated, get up and walk around as soon as you can, frequently flexing your calves and maybe wearing compression stockings.
These will reduce the potential for any blood clots of the legs.

I would recommend that you keep in contact with your surgeon and follow his or her advice for your best established recovery.

Traveling After Breast Lift with Implants

There are some standards to remember in post operative healing from your breast lift. In my office, the patient will go home in a bra or with only light dressings over the incision lines. Sutures are dissolvable but an ending knot, if present is removed within 1-2 weeks. Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral medication. Light activities may be started in 7-10 days. Considering the low pain tolerance you mention it would best be discussed with your surgeon to ensure that two weeks is long enough.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

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Thanks for your question. This is a very common question from my patients, you can safetly travel if you have a good recovery. However the concern is the development of a DVT or deep vein thrombosis which can occur after any surgical procedure, in case that you have complications before the trip you should cancel the flight. i hope that you quick recovery, best wishes.

Manuel Marte, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
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Travel Time after Breast Augmentation/Breast Lift

This question comes up often for our patients that fly in. You are probably OK if you follow the following instructions:
The patient will go home in a bra or with only light dressings over the incision lines
Patients can usually return to work in one week to ten days. Sutures are dissolvable but the ending knot is removed within 1-2 weeks.
Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral medication. Light activities may be started in 7-10 days with light lifting of 20 pounds or less from 10 days to 3 wks. You can fly home as early as 2 weeks if you do not lift anything heavy. After 3 weeks progressive exercise with running and lifting of heavier weights after 6 weeks.

You should be safe to travel

Considering that everything goes smoothly with both your surgery as well as your recovery, you should be fine to travel 2.5 weeks after your procedure.  The biggest concern is the development of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which can occur after any surgical procedure.  However, breast procedures do not tend to be high risk for this and so this should be an adequate amount of time.

I hope that helps and good luck with your procedure!

Travel following breast lift with implants

If your surgery goes well and your recovery is uneventful, you should be safe traveling 2.5 weeks following your mastopexy with implants.  The main concern with travel following surgery is the risk of DVT or deep vein thrombosis.   That said, you need to be prepared to cancel your trip if you have any post operative complications.  This is a personal decision for you which could also be a financial decision. I would recommend that you follow the advice of your own plastic surgeon.

Best of luck,

Breast Lift with Implants

Hi Marlie,
I hope you have a quick recovery and a good trip.  You are at a slightly higher risk of blood clots for up to two months after any big procedure, so keep well hydrated and keep moving around the plane on the long flight.  We operate on many flight attendants for breast lift with implants, and many of them travel earlier than this.  So keep your surgeon in the loop, and ask the office.  You should be fine by then, barring any complications or setbacks.  Have someone along to help you and don't throw anything above your head into the overheads.  We let our patients go all out at three weeks, so coming home should be not problem.  Have fun, "Dr. Joe"

Travel 2 1/2 weeks post op is possible (But check with your surgeon).

You should be well on your way to recovery by 2 1/2 weeks post-op, but should still be avoiding anything strenuous (like lifting luggage into an overhead bin, or even pulling a large roller bag) for another week or two. And, of course, this assumes "perfect" healing without any sort of delay in wound healing, which CAN occur with breast lifts plus implants, certainly more commonly than implants alone.

The most common time for post-op bleeding requiring re-operation occurs between days 10-27, which takes you to 4 weeks after surgery!

Furthermore, on the other side of the coin, you are hypercoagulable (higher risk of blood clots in the legs) during the first 4 weeks after surgery, and taking a 6-hour plane flight increases those risks (same thing for a long car ride). Getting up and walking, wearing compression stockings, staying well-hydrated, and flexing your calf muscles may help to reduce those risks.(Can't take an aspirin because of that darn bleeding risk still being present!)

Pain should not be the issue at that point in time; it's about avoidance of lifting and straining, the high(er) risk of blood clots (which can be serious or fatal), and incomplete healing with the possible risk of bleeding in your breast lift areas or implant pockets.

So if you were my patient, healing without ANY complication or delayed wound closure issues, taking only a purse on the flight, promising to get up and walk the aisles as soon as allowed, staying well-hydrated, wearing compression stockings, and flexing your calves frequently while avoiding any reach or stretch of your arms, I'd say OK.

SO that means 99% of my patients stay home until completely healed and much more safe to enjoy their vacation. But, check with YOUR surgeon! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 238 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.