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Flying after surgery

Southampton, United...
5 posts
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Flying after surgery

I am hoping to get into surgery for a back operation before flying out to Florida in May. My GP has said that I must be 6 weeks post-op (I presume because of risk of DVT). The surgery has been delayed due to bed blocking and so not my fault that I will be flying out so close to the anticipated surgery date. Flights were booked in September. I really would prefer to get the surgery before I go in the hope that I can really enjoy my holiday with increased mobility and a lot less pain. Any suggestions? Other than insurers, do I need to inform the airline? I am really concerned that they will prevent me flying. I do not anticipate being immobile or requiring special assistance. HELP!

Madeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Funchal, Madeira, Madeira Islands
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8,110 posts
62 reviews
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1. Re: Flying after surgery

I -think you will need to get a certificate to say you can fly, from your GP

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2. Re: Flying after surgery

"I will be flying out so close to the anticipated surgery date" Will you still have the 6 week post-op window?

Also, if it were me, I'd check with the surgeon to to his/her post-op requirements or limitations on air travel.

I understand that surgeries get delayed but my concern would be how much post-operative pain you may experience and whether sitting in an airline seat for a number of hours would be good, bad or indifferent.

I think these are all important things to discuss with your surgeon, and if you do travel then I would definitely suggest getting some sort of document from your surgeon or GP that says you are OK to fly. Not sure if the airline would want to see it, but it's possible.

Do you have travel insurance? Will you be covered if you have any post-op complications while in Florida?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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53,610 posts
15 reviews
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3. Re: Flying after surgery

Without knowing the operation booked, I suspect the surgeon would like six weeks between procedure and your departure for more than just a concern about DVT.

S/he will want to ensure that any incisions will have healed, that there will be no signs of infection, and that your recovery will be the best possible within parameters. To some extent, the latter will depend on what's done, whether you will need physiotherapy after, and more.

Pain and decreased mobility are no benefit to a holiday, but if the op is booked for two weeks before departure date you might not be ready to travel when that date arrives.

Have a word with the surgeon and your GP. Best of luck for a sucessful op and a good outcome thereafter.

Sunshine Coast...
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4. Re: Flying after surgery

You don't mention what type of surgery you will be having but in the immediate post operative period you won't necessarily have increased mobility and a lot less pain. If you have a 6 week no fly restriction I expect you are having major surgery and the first few weeks after surgery is the recuperative period where your body is healing and you will gradually increase your mobility and the pain of the surgery will diminish.

If your surgery date is now within this time you may need to either postpone your surgery or postpone your holiday. If you go ahead with the surgery you must get clearance from your surgeon or GP to fly. If you fly against doctors orders it is unlikely that your insurance will cover you while in Florida.

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5. Re: Flying after surgery

and so not my fault that I will be flying out so close to the anticipated surgery date


In what way is that even vaguely relevant to whether its medically advisable to go?????

Ask your doctor about the issues. Ask your insurer if you can postpone. Or postpone the op if doctor says no.

Edited: 6:42 pm, March 17, 2013
Worthing, United...
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12 reviews
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6. Re: Flying after surgery


So what's a bed blocker? Someone who needs a hospital bed I assume.

If you have been advised by a doctor that you cannot fly and you do then your insurance will be invalid.

When you do have your OP then let's hope there are not any complications which might involve you blocking a bed for the next guy on the list.


Destination Expert
for Cambodia
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16,539 posts
81 reviews
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7. Re: Flying after surgery

is your trip worth the risk of DVT?

As others have noted we do not know what kind of surgery, but worst case ... you have te op, 2 weeks later you fly (without medical clearance) and something goes wrong ... who are you going to blame? And in that case I doubt the travel insurance company would be very friendly either.

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8. Re: Flying after surgery

I think you are being way to optimistic that you will be fit to fly, major back surgery takes months to get over, you just don't have the op and you are immediately better! Not only fit to fly but fit enough to do anything on a trip. Sitting on a plane for that trip will be painful enough post surgery and such a short recovery time. The 6 weeks is a guide line every body is different and recovers at a different rate. Being someone with major spinal problems I would not even contemplate going on this trip.


Watford, United...
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13 reviews
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9. Re: Flying after surgery

I am not sure you should go either, but if you do go have a great time on the Hollywood Tower of Terror, the Rock'n'Roller Coaster and the Kraken :-)

Fortaleza, CE
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379 reviews
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10. Re: Flying after surgery

I'm also unsure as to why the surgery delay not being your fault is at all relevant I could suggest, for example, flying first class, but wouldn't want to suggest even that if your doc advises otherwise. Need to advise the airline? Even peoplein wheel chairs fly. We can't tell you it'd be okay to fly in such a situation. That's between you and your doctor and the ultimate choice is, of course, up to you.

Edited: 9:38 am, March 18, 2013