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When Can I Travel After Surgery?

We know it's HOT GIRL SUMMER and you want to book that beach holiday as soon as you possibly can, but there are a few factors you need to take into consideration before booking your next trip.

August 18th, 2022 |Ask an Expert

If you haven't booked your op yet, it's important to know the limitations regarding travelling abroad and certain holiday activities prior to booking your cosmetic surgery procedure to avoid cancellations or rescheduling surgery dates.

Many patients book their cosmetic surgery procedures to coincide with their summer holiday arrangements so that they can showcase their new found confidence and feel fabulous whilst on holiday following their procedure.

When can I go on holiday after my surgery?

MYA have certain guidelines that patients must adhere to when undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure, these requirements are in place to deliver best practice and high-quality services to our patients.

Travel restrictions and limitations vary by procedure and should be discussed in detail with your MYA clinical hub nurse. Our MYA Policy states the following guidelines:

  • Pre-op: All patients due to undergo surgery must not fly 1 week before surgery.

  • Post-op: Short/medium haul flights (<3 - 6 hours) should not fly for 4 weeks following surgery. Long haul flight patients are advised not to fly for 6 weeks following surgery.

Patients should discuss their case with the clinical team for individual advice. In the first 6 weeks following their procedure patients are at an increased risk of complications occurring from surgery. Therefore, patients are advised to be in this country (the UK) so that MYA can provide the necessary support and medical attention if required.

When flying you are more at risk of developing Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). The risk of developing blood clots during travel is relatively low (1 in 6,000) however, after surgery the body’s clotting mechanism goes into overdrive as it is a protective mechanism.

Therefore, patients are at an increased chance of developing DVT/PE, post-surgery, in the first few weeks of an operation. Factors to prevent this once it is safe to travel include, graduated compression stockings, keeping mobile and drinking plenty of water.

Other factors to consider when going on holiday

Holiday limitations are not exclusive to just flying. Many people tend to go on holiday to sunbathe, swim and some may take part in water sport activities. All of these are prohibited until you are at least 6 weeks post-op and have received full sign off by your clinical hub nurse or surgeon.

When you start your journey it is key that you are transparent with your MYA team and discuss any upcoming holidays to ensure your procedure date is arranged with plenty of time for you to heal and recuperate prior to traveling.

To keep safe, always follow the instructions provided by your own Surgeon and MYA healthcare team:

  • Sunbathing: Following surgery, newly formed scars and the surrounding tissue is very sensitive and therefore susceptible to damage from harmful UVA/UVB rays. New scars can take up to 6 months to 1 year to fully heal. MYA therefore recommend that patients must not use sunbeds and should avoid direct sunlight for around 6 months to 1 year post-op. Ignoring this guidance may lead to delayed wound healing and increase the risk of hyperpigmentation.

  • Sun cream: We advise patients to always wear sun cream when in the sun. Patients should cover their scars with plasters/clothing or use sunblock to protect their scars from direct sunlight.

  • Swimming: Whether swimming in the sea or a swimming pool patients should avoid submerging their scars in water until they are full healed and signed off by their MYA clinical team, to reduce the risk of developing a surgical site infection.

  • Water sports: Patients must avoid any strenuous movements or contact sports following their surgery for a minimum of 6 weeks and then discuss your activity goals with your surgeon to guide when you can return to your normal activity. This will vary from person to person and procedure to procedure.

  • Sweat: Hot temperatures abroad can cause swelling and excessive sweating. Try to stay out of excess heat until you have fully recovered and healed.

  • Alcohol: It's very tempting to hit the happy hour cocktails when you are in holiday mode but it's important to remember that alcohol can cause swelling and that maintaining a healthy balanced diet following surgery will help contribute to healing and recovery.

  • Sunglasses: Patients who have undergone rhinoplasty are advised not to wear sunglasses for 6 months post-op, to avoid any damage to the nose as the nasal bone remains soft for 6 months post-op.

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