You May Want To Re-think Taking A Flight After A Knee Replacement

taking a flight after a knee replacementAs tempting as it might be to get away after your knee replacement surgery to some place warm and comforting, it’s time to reconsider that idea. New research presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons (AAOS) shows an increase risk of deep vein thrombosis (VTE) in those who took flights to and/or from the hospital compared to those who did not. [1] So if you are planning to have knee replacement surgery sometime soon, don’t schedule any airline flights in the time period around the surgery if possible.

VTE is a serious complication that can follow hip and knee replacement surgery, in the form of a blood clots, and is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. [2] Although the exact incidence of VTE is unknown, it is believed that 10 million cases occur annually. [2] Risks for VTE include extended hospital stays, surgery and long periods of not moving (e.g., bed rest or long-duration travel). [3]

Patients in the study flew at a mean of six days following knee replacement surgery (range 1-24days) and the mean flight time was 74 minutes (range of 40-85).

No ideas behind the mechanisms causing the increased deep vein thrombosis were given.

In Summary

  • Blood Clots are a potential complication from knee replacement surgery.
  • Prolonged bed rest or long duration travel can increase the risk
  • Taking a flight after a knee replacement may heighten the risk of a blood clot

[1] Mahmood, F., Harte, C. et al. Flying in the Early Postoperative Period following Lower Limb Arthroplasty – Is it Safe? Presented at American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Conference 2018

[2] Jha AK, Larizgoitia I, Audera-Lopez C, Prasopa-Plaisier N, Waters H, Bates DW. The global burden of unsafe medical care: analytic modeling of observational studies. BMJ Qual Saf 2013; 22;809-15. 

[3] World Thrombosis Day. Venous Thromboembolism (VTE): The Facts. International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Accessed 1/17/2018.

Michelle, PT
Michelle, PT

Michelle Stiles called "the no nonsense" therapist, by her patients, created a company called Cowboy Up Recovery after recognizing the bankruptcy of the present medical model. Too many people regard conventional medical wisdom as gospel, ignoring the subversive influences of Big Pharma and Big Medicine. She believes, Americans in general are being trained from an early age to defer to experts in numerous areas of life and losing the impulses for self-responsibility and self-reliance in the process. Over-diagnosis and over-medicating has become endemic. While thankful for the best miracles of modern medicine, she encourages people of all persuasions to listen to their bodies and seek out answers to maintain not just an absence of disease but optimal health. Her advice is: Cowboy Up, no one cares more about your health than you do.

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