Travelling After Joint Replacement Surgery
The following blog post was written by orthopaedic surgeon Mr Ilan Freedman.
A question which patients commonly ask is When can I fly after having a Hip or Knee Replacement?.
Traditional reservations regarding flying after hip replacement surgery are due to the potential risk associated with prolonged immobilisation in a tight space.Immobilisation after major surgery may increase the risk of developing a blood clot in the deep leg veins. If a clot breaks off a deep vein and travels to the lungs this is known as a pulmonary embolus and can be dangerous.
The risk of DVT is not specific to being on an airplane itself and would also apply to immobility during a lengthy car or bus trip, or even prolonged immobility in bed at home.
Travel soon after surgery can usually be undertaken safely if you follow these precautions:
How Long Should I Wait To Travel Again
The majority of surgeons will tell you that you need to wait at least six weeks after your joint replacement surgery to be able to travel safely again. However, this all depends on your fitness before the surgery. Some doctors may be more relaxed and advise traveling as soon as you can sit upright for an hour without discomfort.
In any case, a minimum of at least four weeks is a must. Finalizing your travel plans depends on how you’re feeling, the trip’s duration, the planned activities, and the type of transportation used.
How Can I Manage At Home During Recovery From Hip Replacement Surgery What Are Hip Replacement Precautions And Restrictions
There are some general safety tips to keep in mind. For example, simplify your surroundings:
- Remove clutter.
- Keep stairs free of objects.
- Keep supplies in the same place.
- Remove small rugs throughout the house.
Keep walking areas safe:
- Watch out for your pets when walking.
- Keep hallways/stairways well lit.
- Purchase night lights for bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Stairs should have securely fastened handrails. Non-skid threads on stairs add to safety. If you have problems with your vision, add a contrasting color to mark stair edges.
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How Do I Safely Ride In A Car And On A Plane After A Hip Replacement
You may go out in a car approximately three weeks after you return home, but make sure to avoid sports cars and cars with bucket seats because of the low seat height. When riding in a car, make sure to stop every 45 to 60 minutes to get out and do some walking. Also, do ankle pumps in the car while riding. If youre flying, request an aisle seat and keep the operative leg extended in the aisle. Request to be boarded last on the plane.
How Long Is The Recovery Period After Surgery How Long Will I Have To Perform Physical Therapy Exercises
Several variables affect the ultimate success of a hip replacement surgery and the length of the recovery time. These include the strength of your bones and muscles and your general health and lifestyle. Commitment to a rehabilitation program is also an important part of the recovery process, since improvement to the hip joint is determined by your rehabilitation efforts.
Youll perform daily exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles around your hip joint likely 20 to 30 minutes two to three times per day. Youll also slowly return to climbing stairs, bending and walking, gradually regaining motion and strength. It will be several weeks to several months before youre completely back to normal.
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Skiing After A Knee Replacement
As with running and jogging, skiing is generally not recommended for those who have had knee replacement surgery or any other form of joint replacement for that matter!
Joint injuries are commonplace on ski slopes and you are at risk of doing your new replacement knee serious damage if you do start skiing again.
Again, you can start skiing at your own risk however, some insurers may not be able to provide you with sufficient level of winter sports travel insurance cover for a ski trip once you declare that fact that you have had a knee replacement.
Skiing after knee replacement surgery
Not recommended see above section.
Flying after knee replacement surgery
As soon as you are able to sit comfortably with the knee bent usually 3-4 weeks after surgery.
Communicate Promptly With Tsa
Patients may either inform the TSA member verbally or may present a TSA notification card if they wish to be discreet. There is no need to carry a note from a physician. Notification cards can be downloaded from TSA here.
TSA officers will offer patients the option of going through the body scan machine or undergoing a pat-down. The AAHKS suggests implant patients opt for the body scan machine, but a pat-down around the artificial joint may still be necessary.
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Knee Replacement Surgery Aftercare In Missouri
The experts at Advanced Bone & Joint have been taking care of musculoskeletal needs of patients since the 1980s. Our services include pain management, joint replacement procedures, sports medicine, general orthopedics, and much more. If you do need surgery, we will support you until you have completely recovered.
You may contact us at 229-4222 for your inquiries or to schedule an appointment. You may also request an appointment through our secure online form.
How Long After A Joint Replacement Surgery Can You Travel
Once your joint replacement surgery is done, the first question that might cross your mind is when you will be able to return to your everyday life. The truth is that recovering from a joint replacement surgery is not as easy as one might think, and it certainly requires time and patience. This article will give you valuable tips for quickly returning to everyday life.
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What About Traveling By Car
The risk of developing DVT comes from lack of movement, whether youre traveling by air, rail, or road. Youre also at an increased risk for DVT if you go home and spend too much time in bed.
You can lower your risk for DVT by moving your legs whenever possible. If youre traveling by car, plan to stop and stretch your legs every hour. Once youre home, avoid sitting for more than 4 hours at a time.
Walking After A Hip Replacement
Walking after hip replacement surgery is a process in itself. If you have an enhanced recovery programme then you can be up and walking within hours of having surgery, but this varies from person to person and usually depends on how well you feel. However, when you first start walking you should expect to feel a certain degree of pain and discomfort.
The NHS suggests that your general fitness and well-being, including your ability to stand up and walk to a certain extent, plays a part in how soon you can be discharged from hospital.
When youre discharged and recovering at home, its important to take each day at a time and build yourself up in terms of walking short distances.
If you are a keen hiker, or someone who regularly walks longer distances whilst on holiday, you should get some advice from your physiotherapist on the best way to get back on those hills, everyone is different so its best to talk to them to see which is the best way for your to recover. If walking or hiking is a part of your travel plans, remember that you shouldnt fly until at least three months post-surgery. But the good news is that this is a great time to enable yourself to recover before enhancing your own mobility.
Travelling With Your Medicines
Always carry medicines and medical equipment in their original, correctly-labelled packages. Carry your medication in your hand luggage with a copy of your prescription .
Pack a spare supply of medication in your suitcase or hold luggage in case you lose your hand luggage. Check that the expiry dates of your medicines will be valid for the duration of your visit abroad.
Some medicines need to be kept at room temperature or stored in the fridge. If you are travelling to a warm country, get advice from your pharmacist about storing your medicine. For example, to keep your medicine at the right temperature, you may need to store it using:
- A thermos flask
Exercise After A Hip Replacement
Most surgeons completely discourage jogging or running on hard surfaces according to Arthritis Research UK. The long-term effects of running or jogging after hip replacement surgery can be damaging to the joint because of the sustained impact.
If you do wish to do short gentle runs for exercise then you still can, but remember that running will speed up the level of wear of tear a lot more than lower impact activities.
Like cycling, swimming after hip replacement surgery is generally seen as a great form of exercise for people with limited mobility in general. As opposed to running or jogging on hard surfaces, swimming and cycling are low-impact and gentle forms of exercise that people of all ages can enjoy. However, Arthritis Research UK suggests that swimming breaststroke can be detrimental to those who have had knee replacements in particular. They also suggest that you should not attempt to cycle until 12 weeks after your hip operation. If you are a keen cyclist, it may be more advisable to build up both your mobility and confidence on a static exercise bike rather than going out on the roads straight away.
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What Are The Survival Rates For A Hip Replacement
Survival rates are high. Less than 1% of people who have a hip replacement pass away within 90 days following the surgery.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A hip replacement is a major surgery for people whose daily life is severely affected by debilitating hip pain and loss of range of motion. Deciding to pursue a hip replacement is a decision that should not be taken lightly. There are possible complications, and recovery can take months.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/13/2021.
Video Helps Passengers With Joint Replacements Clear Security
The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons produced a video to help patients with joint replacements navigate airport security checkpoints.
Total joint replacements are among the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. Surgeons complete more than 700,000 total knee replacements and 400,000 hip replacements per year across America . While artificial joints offer benefits such as restored mobility and pain relief, metal implants can create unique challenges for airline travel.
More than 90 percent of implanted total hip and knee arthroplasty devices will activate metal detectors at airports. This occurrence can cause frustration for TSA officers, embarrassment for patients and unnecessary delays for air passengers.
The new video is designed to inform joint replacement patients of strategies to communicate with TSA officers and streamline security screening areas of airports. In an interview with Healio.com/Orthopedics, Brett R. Levine, M.D., Chair, AAHKS Patient and Public Relations Committee, said the first thing patients should do is promptly inform the TSA officer about their metal implant.
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What Are The Types Of Hip Replacements
There are two major types of hip replacements:
- Total hip replacement : A total hip replacement switches both the femoral head and the acetabulum with a prosthesis.
- Partial hip replacement: A partial replacement substitutes the femoral head only. This is typically done for patients with certain types of hip fractures.
Tips For Staying Healthy In The Air
- Choose a seat with legroom to improve blood circulation. Pay a little bit extra if needed, or see if informing your airline about your hip replacement works. The airline may even provide you with other benefits like extra pillows or blankets. If you did forget to book that seat with legroom, still try and get an aisle seat!
- Wear flight socks: also known as compression stockings, they reduce the risk of DVT. But be sure to get the right size, weight and fit for you. And try not to cross your legs!
- Avoid drinking alcohol: remember that alcohol can dehydrate you too, and avoiding it is key to stopping your blood flow thickening.
- Massage your muscles: take a tennis ball to massage your leg muscles by pushing it into your thigh and rolling it up and down your leg. Doing so will help promote circulation.
- Choose the right clothes: that means loose-fitting items to ensure your blood flow is not restricted. This includes your choice of footwear!
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Return To Your Hobbies Steadily
After a hip replacement, you may be keen to get on with life as normal and as fast as you can. Including taking part in the more active hobbies you enjoy, like getting back in the gym.
Different sports can put different kinds of strain on the body. Its important to follow the advice from your Orthopaedic Care team.
Which Seat Is Proper For Me
If you are traveling by airplane, you should consider reserving a seat that maximizes your comfort. Since most travelers can’t afford first-class, look for other options that offer more legroom. Some airlines provide business or premium cabin classes, but some options don’t cost more. For example, sitting in the emergency exit row offers more leg room. If no other option is available, sit in an aisle seat.
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What Cant You Do After A Hip Replacement
Its advised that you do not ignore the advice of your surgeon and/or physiotherapist.
The NHS states that in order to look after your new hip in the best possible way you must:
- Avoid bending your hip at a right angle where possible.
- Avoid any activities that require a twisting motion.
- Avoid swivelling on the balls of your feet.
- Avoid laying on the side of the wound or applying any sort of pressure to it in the hours and days following surgery.
- Avoid crossing your legs over one another.
- Avoid low chairs and toilet seats .
- Avoid activity in the aftermath of surgery and avoid high-impact sports altogether.
Hip replacement surgery recovery time for partaking in different activities varies but the table below summarises this in a simpler format for you.
Swimming after hip replacement surgery
As soon as the wound heals .
Skiing after hip replacement surgery
Not recommended see above section.
Flying after hip replacement surgery
3 months after surgery.
What About Car Travel
You do not have to worry about security checkpoints when traveling in a car. Even better, you can manage as many stops as needed to give yourself time to walk and prevent stiffness. You may consider sitting in the backseat and elevating your leg on the seat to feel more comfortable. Alternatively, you can choose the passenger seat and push it back to have as much leg room as you need.
Most doctors recommend no driving for at least six weeks if the joint replacement is on the right side.
Recovering from a joint replacement is a slow process, but if you follow your doctor and physical therapist’s advice, you’ll be back doing the activities you love most, including traveling.
Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, P.A.
Are you considering joint replacement therapy? Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, P.A. can help. Our experts will guide you through the whole process, and soon you’ll feel like your active self again. So, if you’re looking for a joint replacement in Rocky Mount, NC, call us at 252-443-0400 and schedule an appointment today.
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Orthopaedic Surgery Will Impact Your Physical And Psychological Ability Travel Comfortably By Plane
Surgery will impact your ability to transit the airport, tolerate turbulence and sit comfortably in a chair for the required duration of the flight. A broken bone will significantly impact your ability to tolerate turbulence. The following factors should be considered and understood BEFORE choosing to book or board your flight.
Flying After Surgery Tips
i will be having my first hip replacement next week. This will be my fourth hip surgery previous were Labral tear repairs. Im going to fly to another state to have it done, and will be flying home 7 days after. The flight will be just under 4 hours. Any helpful tips on what to use to comfortably sit for that long or any other tips with flying? It will be a posterior approach. Much appreciated!
0 likes, 27 replies
Posted 5 years ago
Gina – I am in agreement with everyone else. There is no way I could fly anywhere at 7 days, I could only just about get to the loo and back at that stage, even that was a hugely difficult. I would have struggled at 7 weeks to fly and I am reasonably young and fit at 40 and did not expect my recovery to take the time it did, I took a flight at 3 months and even that was quite daunting, exhausting and I would say a little too early to be truly confident. Although I wasn’t ‘in pain’ the journey took every ounce of my limited energy resources.
You need to consider the risk of clots – of the position of the seat on the flight the height of the seat, how would you go to the loo. It is a nightmare, it will be a complete nightmare. You definitely need to rethink your plans. Sorry to tell you this, I am sure this is the last thing you need to hear. I am amazed your surgeon would even entetain the idea of any of his/her patients doing this.
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