By Dr. Alan Feller and Dr. Blake Bloxham
About half of our patients fly in from other states or countries to our Philadelphia hair transplant clinic. So this is a very important topic and a commonly asked question.
The answer is: you can fly the minute you leave the office. There really is no reason to restrict any kind of travel be it plane, train, automobile, or boat.
Interestingly, I advise my patients never to walk far right after a hair transplant because of the sweating it may induce. But as far as getting on a plane, several of my patients have literally gone from the office straight to the airport.
The only real considerations for air travel after a transplant is the possibility of your head getting hit due to someone reaching for a bag from an overhead compartment. That happens more than you might think, but because you didn’t just spend money on a scalp surgery you just forget about it.
Another concern on a plane is that when it is pressurized at altitude the over all pressure is less than when you are on the ground. The end result is that your body will “swell” just a little. Whether you’ve had FUT or FUE this will stress the skin and it may increase discomfort. So make sure you have the pain pills your doctor prescribed with you on the plane. Do NOT drink alcohol ! Alcohol thins the blood and makes it more difficult to clot. This might lead to some bleeding, particularly in the donor area.
I usually recommend to my patients that they stay in a local hotel the night after the surgery, then catch their plane the next day. A good night’s sleep is just what the body needs to “reset” itself after the exhaustion of having a procedure performed. You see, even though the patient just sits in the chair napping or watching TV not feeling any of the surgery, that doesn’t mean the BODY isn’t feeling it. It is, it’s just that the medication given blocks the patient’s perception of the surgery. As the procedure is performed the body is enduring it and using up a lot of energy.
Not to mention the stress almost everyone comes in with PRIOR to the surgery. It’s not unusual for patients to sleep poorly three or more nights before the procedure due to anticipation, excitement, and mild anxiety. This is normal and human. This explains why so many patients take a deep nap during the procedure because once they realize it isn’t at all what they envisioned in their minds they relax for the first time in a few days and catch up some very needed sleep.
So if you are going to travel to your hair transplant doctor by air, try to schedule your flight home for the afternoon of the next day. Fly safe and grow well.