April 12, 2013

How Long After Plastic Surgery Before I Can Plan a Holiday?

How Long After Plastic Surgery Before I Can Plan a Holiday?

Planning a holiday after your rhinoplasty? How long before and after plastic surgery until you can take a vacation or travel? If you've recently had rhinoplasty and find your thoughts turning to travel, there are several considerations you need to take into account prior to booking a trip. While recovery times differ among patients, it's generally recommended you wait at least three weeks before jetting off. However, it's critical to speak with your own surgeon before calling your travel agent - as a rhinoplasty specialist, he or she will best be able to help you make a good decision about any subsequent travel you may wish to do.

Dr. Buonassisi, a rhinoplasty specialists, encourages his patients to review their travel plans with him, and keep the following in mind:

Share your travel plans. Work with Dr .Buonassisi to decide how much recovery time you'll need before going away. Remember: wherever you plan to travel, be sure to get the go-ahead from your surgeon first.

Consider the risks. While the vast majority of patients don't experience nosebleeds or infections after rhinoplasty, these types of complications tend to occur within the first three weeks of recovery. It's best to wait at least that amount of time (or more, as per your surgeon) before heading off on holiday if you are going to a destination where it would be difficult to get medical attention quickly.

Follow-up visits. Dr. Buonassisi will schedule several important follow-up appointments to his office after your rhinoplasty. It is best to attend these to ensure all goes smoothly with your nose job, so keep in contact with your surgeon's office manager to ensure follow up visits can occur when you plan to be in town. Generally speaking, the one week post operative appointment needs to be scheduled 7 days or so after your surgery so that your cast can be removed. If you are an out of town patient, Dr. Buonassisi may be able to show you how to remove the cast on our own if you plan to travel home before the cast removal appointment. The other follow up appointments (usually roughly 2 months and 6 months after surgery) are more flexible and can be planned around schedules.

Where are you going? Just as every patient is different, every vacation is unique. If you're planning a weekend road trip to a nearby locale, the risks of running into trouble are far less than if you take a flight halfway around the world. Your objective should be to ensure you can get help quickly within the first three weeks of your surgery - if you had a complication. Complications like bleeding and infection are rare - but it is best to be safe.

What will you be doing? Certain activities may interfere with your recovery after rhinoplasty. Be totally honest with your surgeon about the things you plan to do while you're away so that he or she can make recommendations to help mitigate the risk:

  • Air travel: Consider what you'll do if you find yourself 40,000 feet in the air with a nosebleed and no access to medical care. While changes in air pressure will not likely increase your chance of bleeding, it may be wise to wait until you're completely recovered before you book a flight. The exception to this is out of town rhinoplasty patients who are taking a short flight home. Speak to your surgeon - you may be given the ok to fly home in the week after surgery providing the flight is short and your recovery has been smooth so far.
  • Sun exposure: Prolonged UV exposure may cause the columellar incision to darken, so it's best to stay out of direct sunlight for 12 months after rhinoplasty (i.e., no tanning - or if you must - cover your face). You can go out in the sun prior to the one-year mark, but always wear sun protection and, if possible, a hat.
  • Physical activity: Sports that carry a high risk of getting hit in the face, like skiing, windsurfing and volleyball, should be avoided for two to three weeks after rhinoplasty (or more, as per your surgeon), depending on your skill level. Certain high-impact sports, like boxing and wrestling, should not be attempted in the first year (unless your surgeon says it's safe). Once the grace period has passed for any activity, play it safe by wearing a protective helmet or face guard (ensuring that any masks or goggles you don don't put too much pressure on your nose), taking lessons as a beginner, being cognizant of equipment or other players hitting your nose and avoiding activities, like certain yoga postures, that require you to invert your head upside-down.
  • Water sports: It's safe to get your nose wet in the shower once your cast comes off, but not necessarily in a public pool or ocean where contaminants may exist. After three weeks of recovery (or more, as per your surgeon) it's usually safe to go swimming. Scuba diving, however, is not recommended until six weeks post surgery (or more, as per your surgeon); while pressurization won't likely increase the chance of a nosebleed, you may experience discomfort if any residual swelling of the turbinates affects airflow in and out of the sinuses.
  • Remote trekking: If your idea of a perfect getaway involves getting way, way off the beaten path (i.e., far from the nearest hospital or medical centre), you may want to postpone your journey to remote corners of the earth until your nose has completely healed (at least three weeks post surgery, or as per your surgeon).
  • Mountain climbing: Again, changes in air pressure won't likely lead to a nosebleed, but save the big hike for when you're healed (at least three weeks post surgery, or as per your surgeon).

Make a plan. If your surgeon has given you permission to take a vacation, be sure to come up with a plan on what to do if you experience complications while you're away. For example, figure out where you can get medical help and be sure to buy adequate travel insurance.

Get the go-ahead. What it really boils down to is getting the OK from your surgeon before boarding a bus, boat, train or plane. By consulting with their surgeon, some patients will find they can take a vacation as soon as two weeks after rhinoplasty - it's all about being open and honest about where you want to go and what you plan to do, asking questions and complying with your surgeon's feedback.

Have questions about your recovery or need some travel advice?

Dr. Buonassisi's patients are encouraged to contact they patient care manager with any questions about their rhinoplasty recovery. We are here to help!

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