Air Travel Safety for Our Patients – Tips for Healthy Travel
This is a set of guidelines that I give to all the patients that have to get on a plane and come to see me in Beverly Hills in order to get their cosmetic plastic surgery. These guidelines are meant to increase patient safety. These same guidelines are also healthy tips to any passenger who flies and has to be in a plane for a prolonged period of time.
After any type of surgery that was performed under general anesthesia it is not a good idea to fly the next day. It’s best to wait until the patient is able to walk well before he/she can fly. The reason is that general anesthesia may predispose people to blood clots due to prolonged blood pooling in the veins of the lower extremities while the patient is the operating room table. Prolonged blood pooling is a risk factor for blood clots. That’s why we want patients to walk right away after their surgery. If a patient gets on a plane to fly shortly after that then that causes additional immobilization and the extra chance for blood clots.
If a patient has had plastic surgery by me and needs to fly within a few days after his/her surgery then I prescribe one aspirin. A few days before the flight and few days after. A normal dose of aspirin makes our body platelets less “sticky”. Platelets are the body’s cells that are responsible for creating a clot. In wound healing proper blood clot formation is important. However when blood clots occur in the legs they can be potentially dangerous as they may move to the lings and cause a pulmonary embolus. That could be lethal.
During the flight I tell all my patients to get up and walk up and down the corridor between the seats. That is more important especially of the flight is long. Walking promotes circulation of the legs. That’s where blood clots begin. Walking prevents that from happening.
With the toes attached to the floor raise the heel up and then down. Those are called calf raises. You can do sets of 15 each time.
With the heels on the floor lift the toes upward and downward. Do sets of 15 each time.
Lift one foot off the floor while the other foot touches the ground. You can do that while you seat so that only one leg at a time is off the ground. Rotate the ankle in both directions and then repeat with the other ankle.
Shrug your shoulders and move them in circles. Move them forward and backwards. Do not do this exercise if you have shoulder pain or arthritis.
Rotate head in each direction slowly. Feel your neck stretch in each way. Then flex your neck by trying to have your chin touch to the chest. Then extend your neck backwards. Do that a few times. Do not do this if you experience neck pain or have problem with the cervical spine.
Stretch your fingers outward and then clench them into your palm. Repeat a few times. The same can be done with the toes. During long flights this may feel a bit hard because the toes and feet become swollen. That’s ok. Its still ok to do these exercises.