Travel Recommendations After Surgery
What Is a Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of blood clot within a deep vein. This most commonly occurs in the lower extremities (thigh or calf), but can also occur in the upper extremities. In it’s most serious form, a blood clot can embolize, or travel, to another part of the body and cause a blockage. If the clot travels to the heart or lungs it can be fatal. Your risk for developing a DVT is greatest right after surgery and about 10 days afterward. This is why we take all of the necessary precautions beginning the day of surgery to prevent DVT as much as possible.
Precautions Implemented To Reduce Your Risks Of DVT:
Compression devices are applied on your lower extremities during and after your surgical procedure to enhance blood flow.
How to Prevent DVT When Traveling:
- Avoid air travel for a minimum of two weeks after surgery whenever possible
- For Air Travel within 6 weeks of surgery – Take one 325 mg Aspirin one hour prior to flight and then once a day for 5 days after your arrival.
- If on an airplane for more than 3 hours, either walk frequently or do ankle pump exercises (flex your foot up and down repeatedly) in your seat AT LEAST every hour. This squeezes the blood vessels, helping to keep your blood flowing and prevent DVT.
- Stay well hydrated and drink lots of water. Dehydration causes the blood to thicken and the veins to narrow, increasing your risk for blood clot.
- Avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause dehydration.
- You may also consider purchasing compression stockings at a medical supply store and wearing them during your travels. This also helps reduce swelling.
- Avoid wearing short, tight socks or crossing your legs for long periods.
Seek Emergent Care If You Develop:
- Increasing leg pain
- Swelling that does not decrease with leg elevation
- Enlargement of veins near the skin
- Reddish or pink skin color
- Skin that is warm to the touch