Frequently asked questions at varicose vein treatment clinics such as Metro Vein Centers include, “Can I fly after getting varicose vein treatment? and “How long do I have to wait to fly after varicose vein treatment?”
You may be asking, “Why would someone be so concerned about flying after varicose vein treatment?” Many patients who need this type of treatment don’t happen to live near a specialty vein clinic and this is not the type of procedure you want a general practitioner doing. You truly need a specialist to ensure it’s done right. So, some domestic patients fly into another city to get treatment at a high quality specialty vein clinic like Metro Vein Centers. When they do this, they need to know if it will be safe for them to fly back to their home right away or if they need to make plans to wait a few days.
Medical tourism is also growing by leaps and bounds. This is where a person travels to a far away destination for the primary purpose of getting better and or cheaper treatment. They may also combine this practical trip with some fun sightseeing. Varicose vein treatment is becoming one of the more popular reasons for medical tourism. Not all patients outside the United States have access to a prestigious vein clinic like Metro Vein Clinics so they fly into an American city that offers this type of treatment.
Of course, there are other examples too when people may want to fly as soon as possible after their varicose vein treatment. For example, sometimes people stay with family members who live closer to a treatment center than they do. In these cases, patients may not want to be a burden to their family members and may ask their doctor if they can fly back home after a few days. Just remember that airplane cabins do put people at a higher risk for developing a blood clot or having a wound open up so it may be better to let your family take you in for a few more days.
Some people need to fly for their work too. In these cases, it is best to take it on a case by case basis and just talk with your doctor and explain your circumstances. He or she can then go over your specific medical history and the possible risks if you fly too soon. This way, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision. It truly may come down to what type of procedure you had and what your overall health is. For example, if you have extensive sclerotherapy in a large vein, and you have another disease such as diabetes that puts you at a higher risk for blood clots, your doctor may be more persistent in insisting you wait at least a week before you try flying.
Regarding the time you should wait before getting on an airplane, it really depends on the procedure(s) you have so the best person to ask would be the doctor who performs your varicose vein treatment. It will also depend in part on the specific doctor you are seeing as opinions on this do vary some. On the extreme caution end of the scale, most doctors will tell you to wait seven to fourteen days, i.e. one to two weeks. This is based on an overwhelming abundance of caution to ensure that you do not develop a blood clot and you are well on your way to being fully healed. In some cases, such as spider vein treatment or other non-invasive procedures, your doctor may be comfortable with you flying in forty-eight hours.
If you do need to take an airplane flight after varicose vein treatment, there are some precautions your doctor may recommend. He or she will likely ask you to wear high pressure compression stockings which will lower your risk of developing a clot. In some cases, they may also ask you to take a mild blood thinner such as an aspirin. You’ll likely be instructed to drink extra fluids to stay fully hydrated and watch your salt intake for the same reason. You’ll also be instructed to try to get up during the flight to stretch your legs. This can be as simple as getting up to go to the bathroom. You may also want to do simple calf exercises while you are sitting in the airplane seat. You may want to discretely inform the flight attendent of your situation so he or she can help make this possible.
We also have some extra advice. When scheduling your flight, even if you have to pay a bit extra, try to pick the shortest flight possible and avoid stopovers that force you to stay on the plane. If you can’t avoid a layover, take the opportunity to exercise your legs but don’t overdo it. You may also want to take something along that will allow you to elevate your leg comfortably during the layover, especially if your varicose vein treatment was more extensive.