When seeking a Facial Plastic Surgeon to perform your Rhinoplasty surgery, finding the best doctor for your needs is first and foremost. After doing your research you may determine that the surgeon of your choice is not in your city.
Fortunately, patients have the opportunity to travel across the country to metropolitan cities in a matter of hours to obtain health care services not offered where they live. Dr. Philip Solomon is a world reknown Facial Plastic Surgeon located in Toronto, so it is not uncommon for our patients ask us whether it would be safe for them to travel after their surgery. The answer depends on the patient, and the procedure and the circumstances.
It is common for most surgeons to prefer to have their patients reside nearby for a few weeks following the surgery so that they can follow-up with them if any concerns arise. One of the major concerns patients have regarding flying is how the high altitude will affect their post-operative nose, especially since their option for medical care during travel would be limited. Some airlines may not allow passengers to board the plane without a doctor’s note allowing for the travel. Check with your airlines to understand their policies for safe travel before booking your ticket. For individuals not familiar with Toronto, our administrative staff can guide you with information about finding an accommodation close to the surgical site.
During your consultation, ask your surgeon for their postoperative instructions with regard to flying. While some surgeons are comfortable allowing patients to travel within a week’s time, others might be reluctant due to safety concerns. This is highly patient-specific as well. Age, medical history, extent of the procedure and other risk factors will affect each person’s timeline differently. If traveling is unavoidable, discussing this with your surgeon beforehand is very important.
If a patient is given the go ahead to travel a few days following their rhinoplasty surgery, there is the possibility that they experience some discomfort while in the air. An increase in sinus pressure could result depending on your procedure, however using a saline spray may help alleviate the discomfort.
There is a discontinuity in the skin of the surgical site during the first week until scar formation occurs. The pressure fluctuation inside the plane could make you more susceptible to minor bleeding during this time due to circulatory pressure changes. Though this is rare, the major concern would be the limited access to medical care if a vessel were to begin to bleed.
Following surgery, the discontinuity in the skin increases your susceptibility to injury and infection. Avoid traveling in tightly packed compartments such as in the subway trains during peak traffic. As well, swimming, baths, pools and hot tubs are not safe for any surgical incision which isn’t completely closed and this does have a limiting factor on many people’s ideal vacation plans so it is important to understand what activity is allowed while healing. Avoid direct sun exposure till at least six weeks or until the incision heals as sunburns can damage traumatize the skin and prolong the healing. Be sure to plan out your traveling schedule to give yourself enough time to recover.
Surgeries performed under general anaesthetic carry a typically slight risk of blood clot formation. This is more of a concern for older patients, those who smoke or are obese and those who are taking hormone supplements or medication. A history of deep vein thrombosis or clots would put you at a slightly higher risk of experiencing this issue. In the early days after surgery, patients are encouraged to be immediately mobile, walk around slowly and reduce these risks. These precautions are typically more than adequate to ensure healthy circulation in the legs post operatively, however pressure changes and long periods of sitting still on a plane or lengthy drive would again, elevate those risks. For this reason, depending on the patient’s whole health picture, the surgeon will advise a required amount of time to pass before flying is considered safe.