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Travel tips for surgical patients

11:53 20 March in Tips

Come early.  Try to arrive a day or two before your consultation date so that you can arrange a hire car and familiarize yourself with the location of our facilities and other amenities you may find make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable.  You don’t want to be in a panic about where the hospital is or where the nearest chemist is on the day of your procedure.

Clothing choice.  Consider how your body will change after surgery and how restricted your movements may be in the post-operative period.  You may need to consider tops that do not require putting your arms above your head to pull on.  Zips and button ups are the preferred choice.  If you are having a breast augmentation make sure the clothing you bring will accommodate your new size.  Abdominoplasty patients may want to consider elasticated pants.  Soft, flat, slip-on shoes are best.

Medications.  Don’t forget to bring all the medications you are currently taking.  Ask your surgeon for advice on stopping any of these before having the surgery and when you can start taking them again after surgery.

Accommodation.  You may prefer some privacy after your surgery.  Make sure you stay at a hotel or guest house that offers room service meals.  Self-catering may give you the level of privacy you require, but only make use of this option if you are not traveling alone.  Make sure your accommodation of choice does not have too many stairs or deep baths that may be difficult to get out of.

Distractions and Entertainment.   Aesthetic surgery is still surgery, you will need a period to recuperate and you will need to rest and take it easy for a few days.  Do not book safaris, hikes or other physical activities too soon after the surgery.  Bring a good book, make sure your accommodation has TV, Netflix and Wifi to keep you entertained during your down time.  Post-operative swelling after eye/Facial surgery may make it difficult to read or focus on a screen, download some audiobooks or pod casts.

Priority boarding/ assisted passage.  You may consider making these special arrangements with the airline if you are planning to have extensive surgery.

Don’t travel alone. If you are traveling by car, you will need to have someone else to drive you in the early period after your operation.  Your doctor will give you an indication of when it is safe for you to drive again. Ask Dr Toogood’s staff to arrange a taxi to bring you to the hospital on the morning of your procedure and for collection after your procedure.  You will not be allowed to drive yourself directly after surgery.  If you are traveling by air, you will likely need to have someone else lift your luggage.

Walk every hour during your trip. Be as mobile as possible. In the days after surgery, the body is in an inflammatory state that makes a person more predisposed to blood clots, particularly in the legs.

If  you’re in the car, stop every hour and get out and walk around the car once or twice, to keep the blood moving.  If you’re flying, try to get an aisle seat so it’s easier to get up and walk. Just walking up and down the aisle once or twice during a long flight or once or twice every hour is useful.

Follow the mobilizing exercises suggested in the inflight booklets or on the inflight entertainment channels.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration raises the risk of blood clots after surgery. Airline cabin air tends to be dry. It’s best to drink water and avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.

Wear loose-fitting clothing. Using your abdominal binder and/or compression garment is not necessarily the best idea whilst you are travelling, unless specifically recommended by Dr Toogood.  Ask for advice on if you must wear your binder or compression garment for the transit period or if you should leave them off until you are home and then begin wearing them religiously again.