Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

Due to my job, I am flying straight after work to have surgery 10-12 hours after I arrive. The flight is 3 1/2 hours. Is this too risky? My health is the most important thing. My surgeon knows my itinerary and has not said anything with regards to that. I would appreciate your feedback. I am getting a tummy tuck. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 13

Your plastic surgeon is best suited to answer this question.

The primary concern with flying before (as well as after) plastic surgery is the risk for blood clots. Your plastic surgeon knows if you have any health considerations that would predispose you to developing clots, which is why it’s of utmost importance to check with them about your travel plans. They may advise you to stay well-hydrated during the flight, as well as to get up and walk around the cabin every 30 minutes or so to promote blood circulation. Best of luck to you. 

Eugene Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

The concern is that flying increases your risk for blood clots. wearing full leg compression stockings and getting up and walking around as much as possible while on the airplane could help reduce this risk.  It is important that you ask your plastic surgeon and not rely on the Internet advice.

Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

Thank you for your question. It is advisable to ask your surgeon that will perform the surgery about this as he can give you the best advise. 

Bulent Cihantimur, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

When flying, even in the absence of planned surgery, it is a good idea to get up often and stretch. In particular long flights you may want to wear compression stocking to keep the blood flowing. I would also advise drinking lots of fluids.

George Lefkovits, MD - Account Suspended
New York Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

Travel by air is generally considered one of the safest methods of travel, but it can pose health risks even if you aren’t recovering from surgery. These risks are heightened during your recovery period, which is when you’re likely to be traveling.

Clotting is a particularly concerning risk for patients, especially if the clot is a deep vein thrombosis. A deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a clot that forms in the deeper veins. The clot can become quite large over time without being detected. Eventually, the clot can become large enough that smaller pieces break off and begin moving through the blood stream. If that piece gets stuck in your heart, you could have a heart attack. If it gets stuck in your brain, you could have a stroke. If it gets lodged in your lungs, you could have a pulmonary embolism. All these effects are potentially fatal, which is why a DVT is such a big deal.

DVTs tend to form when people are sitting in one position for long periods of time. On a plane, you’re doing exactly that, especially if the flight is long. There is limited space available for you to stretch and move around in order to keep your blood moving. Your access to fluids is also limited to what you bring with you and what you can get from the flight attendants. 

Choose accommodations that allow you the most maneuverability. Choose an exit row or economy plus seat to give yourself room to stretch. An aisle seat gives you access to the aisle so you can get up and move around during the flight. Before you get on the plane, try to be as active as you can, even if that just means standing instead of sitting. Being active gets your blood moving, which will help protect you during the flight. Pack an empty water bottle, fill it up before you get on the plane, and try to drink water throughout the flight. If you need more fluids, don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendant.

I suggest to ask to your surgeon another ways to prevent the risks!

Good luck :)

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 418 reviews

Flying Before Surgery

Thank you for your question. There are several things that you can do to avoid poor circulation on long flights. I recommend standing, stretching, and walking up and down the aisle as frequently as possible to get the blood moving and to get the kinks out. In addition to exercising,  compression stockings are also recommended to help prevent blood pooling in the legs. They can be found at surgical supply stores and pharmacies. Lastly, Prevention of dehydration on flights is as easy as drinking a steady amount of water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Hope this information has been helpful. Best of luck on your surgery.

Michael K. Obeng, MD, FACS - Account Suspended
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Flying before surgery

Thank you for our question. The concern with flying for a period of time and sitting in one position for a period of time is that of blood clot formation. It is important when flying to keep well hydrated, avoid alcohol and get up periodically and stretch and/or walk the aisle. Hydration is most important.

Best Wishes,

J. Michael Morrissey, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

Thank you for your question. It is ok to fly before as you are saying your PS aware of this. Make sure you are hydrated well.

Ven Erella, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Flying before Plastic Surgery, is this too risky?

If your overall health status is good, the only thing I would worry about is dehydration. Drink plenty of NONALCOHOLIC fluids during and after the flight and you should be fine.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews


Thank you for your question. Maybe it is wise to ask your surgeon again because he is the person that has his specific pre and post op details. Best of luck

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 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.