Can You Fly After Foot Surgery?
Generally speaking, you cannot fly after foot or ankle surgery. Generally, your body needs at least two weeks to heal completely. Usually, you can’t return to work or any other heavy activities before two weeks after the procedure. However, doctors might ask you not to fly if you suffer from uncontrolled congestive heart failure or arrhythmias. You should also avoid flying if you have untreated angina or chest pain.
Avoiding dehydration on flights
While the cabin pressure of an airplane may not sound like a big deal, it can cause problems with heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. It can also worsen cardiovascular diseases such as CAD, arrhythmia, and heart failure. Consequently, avoiding dehydration on flights is vital for your health. During your flight, you should drink plenty of water, especially water with electrolytes. Additionally, you should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine, which are known blood thinners and increase your risk of bleeding during surgery.
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Avoiding caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
If you plan on drinking alcohol, you should consult with your surgeon and limit your intake. Even if you don’t usually drink alcohol, cutting back a bit before your surgery can reduce your risk of unexpected complications. The same applies to caffeine, so you may want to consider cutting back before the procedure. Caffeine withdrawal can leave you with a splitting headache. However, if you don’t have any other options, decaf coffee is a good choice.
Avoiding long-distance flights
The surgeon will likely advise you to avoid long-distance flying for two to four weeks after foot surgery. Flying after this surgery puts patients at an increased risk of blood clotting, so you may need to take extra precautions to avoid this. It’s also important to avoid flying after a major surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement. Flying after these surgeries increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that typically occurs in the legs.
Waiting to fly after surgery
A major factor in determining whether you can fly after foot surgery is the length of immobilisation required for healing. After undergoing foot surgery, the patient will be in a walking boot for at least two weeks. A doctor may also advise you not to fly until at least six weeks after surgery. The prolonged immobility may increase the risk of blood clots, which are painful and potentially life-threatening. However, these conditions are uncommon.
Risk of blood clots
The risk of blood clots after foot and ankle surgery is usually low and is not severe. The chances of developing a blood clot are approximately one in one hundred. If you have a risk factor for blood clots, speak with your surgeon about the risks and how to minimize them. You should also know that some medications and mechanical devices are effective in preventing blood clots.
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