View Full Version : Weird question - about air travel

19th September 2006, 08:48 PM
Weird question that came to my mind other day was, how does one feel, post-op, with rods and screws and on an air plane with plane passing through turbulence? I know turbulence can get really nasty at times, does that impact spine in any ways with rods around spine? Is that the reason why doctors advice against air travel till spine is fused

20th September 2006, 11:58 AM
John (zerodegrees) is the one to answer this question. He's had surgery and also flys for a living. Due to his weird shift pattern he doesn't get on as often as he used to.

20th September 2006, 12:27 PM
It wasn't terrible turbulence, but there was a bout of it when I went across to Alicante last year. I'm long since fully fused, and it caused no problems. As it happens, I think you're in as much or more danger travelling on a London bus :P They're terrible at the best of times, and I can certainly say that travelling on them only 3 months after surgery was distinctly nerve-wracking with the amount the drivers lurch them and throw them around!

Also of course until you are back to a normal level of activity, there will be the worry of greater potential for Deep Vein Thrombosis developing on a flight, and that might actually be a greater worry than any risk of turbulence bouncing you around a bit (when you consider the number of us - anecdotally - who have fallen over in a variety of pratfalls only months after surgery and not harmed ourselves beyond bruises [to dignity mostly!] then while you do want to be as careful as possible, I think it's fair to say that in most cases things are quite stable and well fixed, and a bit of rattling around is most likely just to be rather uncomfortable rather than risky)

All that said, I expect John will have far better information, as the above is just my guesswork.

21st September 2006, 09:53 AM
hi guys,

Flying is not recommended initially mainly due to dvt risks and also potential lung problems. If you had surgery like mine which involved collapsing one lung for the anterior approach it is important to check that there are no pneumothorax present (ie gaps between the lining in the lung where it hasn't inflated properly), this can be checked with a chest xray. The reason being that during ascent & descent the pocket of air will expand & contract causing extreme pain! I had this problem & couldn't get on an aircraft for 4 months. The problem was resolved with physio.

Interestingly you can also have a similar problem with fillings if there are air pockets in them & we have this checked during our medicals!

I found the turbulence not to bad when I flew for the first time but was still a little uncomfortable, strangely I got on a bus after about 4 months (before I could drive again) and this was very uncomforatable.

Hope this helps.