Author Topic: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home  (Read 2689 times)

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Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« on: September 01, 2015, 06:46:10 AM »
Hi folks. It's been about 2.5 years since I started exploring resurfacing. I feel I'm getting closer to having to do something about my left hip. I'm a 54 y.o. male.

I'm not totally settled on resurfacing at this point due to the potential metal ion issues. However, that aside, I'm considering resurfacing surgeons on the other side of the country (I live in Seattle).

So my general question is, how is it making that long trip home on an airplane? I would think post op airplane travel--5+ hours on a plane--would be pretty grueling, and really about the last thing you would want to do after surgery. I know there are surgeons closer to home, but I tend to gravitate toward someone like Dr. Gross or Dr. Brooks, so a long plane ride will be required.

I welcome any feedback on this. Thanks.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 06:47:16 AM by michaelinwa »


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Re: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 09:13:07 AM »
Hi Mike. I traveled across the country to have mine done with Dr. Gross last December. Although uncomfortable it was quite manageable. Their pain management protocol is really good so if you keep up on the pain meds you're fine there. The harder part is being uncomfortable in certain positions for too long.

On my plane ride a stewardess put together a bag of ice for me which made it much, much better (swelling is a big part of the discomfort). Lots of water helps too. As well standing up a now and then. I got up to use the restroom a few times on the plane -- you're surprising mobile immediately after surgery.

And I sprung for first class on the way back. Though most people use coach and call the airline to make sure they get seated in a bulkhead seat so that they have more legroom.

Definitely use the wheelchair assistance in the airports. And pack light. You won't be able to carry much if anything and if you use Dr. Gross (whom I highly recommend) you'll be coming back with an extra box (ice machine).

Regarding metal ions, by all accounts it's a non-issue if the component is placed correctly. That's down surgeon skill and big reason why selecting a great surgeon is so important.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 09:20:23 AM by JHippy »
Left HR; Dec. 17, 2014; Dr. Gross and Lee Webb NP;
uncemented Biomet Recap/Magnum; 50mm/56mm.


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Re: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 05:05:49 AM »
Thanks for the response, JHippy. I guess traveling first class would help. The thought of sitting in those cramped seats for 5+ hours after surgery is really pretty unpleasant. But extra leg room would help a lot. It's just hard for me to get used to the idea of having my surgeon 3,000 miles away. I guess this is reasonable if the surgery is by and large smooth sailing, as it sounds like it is with some the better ones.


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Re: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 04:48:38 PM »
Michael, I did the trek from California to Dr. Gross in So. Carolina.  With the first hip I returned 1st class and it was a breeze with cooperation by the airlines.  With the 2nd hip 4 months later, I opted for a bulkhead seat but that got screwed up by United and I ended up in a coach aisle.  If in coach, aisle I believe is a must.  Even in coach, it was a breeze as I stayed medicated and ahead of any pain.  The other thing was that I purchased a wide mouth ice bag from the drug store and had it filled at the airport while waiting for flights.  On the plane the staff was more than happy to keep it filled for me.  That was essential in keeping the swelling down and helping my comfort. 
Getting the results I have with the surgeon I selected made the inconvenience of flying a non issue.  Surgery was on a Wednesday am, one night in hospital, one night in Marriott across the parking lot, flew home Friday am and was watching a movie in my family room by 1pm that day.
AND.........PAIN FREE after 3 years of denial.  So yes, the flight will be worth it from Seattle or wherever. 
Good luck, you're in great hands.
L-Hip Biomet U/C, Gross, MD & Webb, NP; 12/14
R-Hip Biomet U/C, Gross, MD & Webb, NP; 04/15


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Re: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 05:05:42 PM »
Hey Mike,

I'm 54 and I had out patient surgery with Dr. Gross, and had to be driven 5 hours back to Florida the next morning. If you get a seat with leg room, you should be fine with meds and an ice pack. You can always get your polar cooling unit where you live so you don't have to hassle with it on your return trip. 5 months post-op and I'm feeling great. Took me 7 years to convince myself, and when I discovered resurfacing, it was a no brainer for me to choose this method over THR.  Do yourself a favor and get it done, so you can enjoy a better quality of life. Good luck!
Mark / Dr. Gross Uncemented Biomet Right Hip Outpatient Surgery on 4/6/2015


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Re: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 09:22:21 PM »
Hi Mike,

I traveled from California to have bilateral resurfacing with Dr Gross. I was in the hospital on Monday, with surgeries on Monday and Wednesday, discharged to the nearby motel on Friday, and flew back to California on Saturday.

For my surgeries, I flew United which I don't recommend. They fly you past Columbia to Washington DC (Dulles), and then fly back to Columbia, so the travel time is longer than on an airline which would go more directly through Atlanta (like Delta).  On my return trip to California, there were thunderstorms in DC which delayed my flight out of Columbia. I ended up missing my flight from DC to California and had to wait 6 hours for another flight. It ended up taking 16 hours to get home. That was a long day.

When I went back for my follow up appointment, I flew Delta. The flights were shorter and there were no delays.  Some people recommend flying in and out of Charlotte and driving to and from Columbia.

I had 2 experiences with bulkhead seating. In the first, the bulkhead (the wall in front of me) went all the way down to the floor. This gave me no room to stretch out my legs in front of me and was miserable. I ended up switching to a regular economy seat, and that was much better. If you are tall, be careful about choosing a bulkhead seat. (I'm 6' 4".) In my second experience, the bulkhead didn't come down all the way to the floor. It stopped about 2 feet above the floor, which gave me lots of legroom.  That was very comfortable.

Good luck!


LHR (62/56) 6/22/15, RHR (60/54) 6/24/15, Biomet, Dr Gross


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Re: Looking for Feedback on Post Op Travel to Home
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2015, 05:21:04 AM »
Again, thanks all, for the responses. Seems that the long trip is manageable enough. I'd probably spring for first class just because I already get antsy sitting on an airplane for that coast-to-coast flight.



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