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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    110

    Flying after knee surgery

    Has anyone flown shortly after knee surgery? I'll be six days out and fortunately I managed to get a direct flight home, it's a little over four hours. Tips and tricks, anyone? Will they allow me to take the cryocuff on board?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    24
    i flew exactly 2 weeks after surgery. wasnt a big deal. i flrw jet blue and they let me sit in the front. going thru security is a pain if you wear your brace they take you off the line and screen you extra because the brace is metal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    669
    Make sure you get the bulkhead or exit row, or at worst the asile seat with the ACL leg having the extra room. First Class is better.
    drmark
    Mark Sanders, MD FACS
    Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine
    Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
    Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
    www.sandersclinic.net
    Houston, Texas
    713.907.6076

    Terms & conditions of use, as it relates to any and all information posted to TGR.com's discussion forums by drmark can be found at:
    http://sandersclinic.net/legal_notice.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    110
    I've got bulkhead row. They won't let the gimpy sit in the exit row. First class would be nice, but $500 vs. $2000+ round trip, I guess it's economy for me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NOYFB
    Posts
    487
    Haven't flown after surgery but did fly not too long after my injury. Crutches, knee immobilizer, and arm in a cast. Plenty of room in the bulkhead and I just propped my leg up on my carry-on bag. Flight attendant even bought me a beer. Everyone was real nice and helpful. Except....

    I had reserved the bulkhead and when I got on some lady w/ a kid was in my seat. I said "excuse me, but I think you're in my seat". She then proceeded to say "Well, I've got this crying baby and I need the room and it would be better for everyone if I sat up here." Are you kidding me? Do you not see I'm in on crutches with my arm AND leg in casts? Me being a gentleman/pushover I conceded to her. Luckily then the flight attendant saw the situation, and stepped in and the lady moved, albeit grudgingly.

    Why is it (some) people w/ a kid think that they deserve some special treatment? Big deal. You're not the first person to fly w/ a baby and you won't be the last. Get over yourself.

    /End rant blog.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Eagle County
    Posts
    10,931
    get up and walk around. I flew to and from Africa in June after my surgery in Jan and even with walking around, my knee was as swollen as a basketball. Stand up and do lots of exercises.
    ROLL TIDE ROLL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    CB
    Posts
    442
    I flew 3 weeks after hip surgery from JFK to Denver, which was about the same length as your flight. I sat in the bulkhead and actually had a wheelchair to get through security, which was clutch. The biggest thing was I got up and crutched up and down the aisle every 30 minutes. I'm pretty sure I annoyed the crap out of everyone else on the plane, but I also didn't get any blood clots. Good luck with your surgery!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    113
    will you need heparin injections to prevent thrombosis? ask about that!

    bulkhead seats are key, get a doc's note.
    order a cocktail when on the plane.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    utah
    Posts
    4,703
    I flew maybe 4 days after my first knee surgery - from El Paso to Tampa with a sweet 3 connecting flights.

    I brought my ice machine with me, which I don't think I could have lived without. Not sure how that works with security these days... I guess you'd have to empty it out and refill it with ice water on the other side. I would definitely get assistance for getting through the airport - a wheelchair would be great for when you're standing in line, since there seems to be a lot more standing in line required these days...

    And somehow managed to mostly be on the planes where the front row of coach had the seats that face each other, so I could prop my leg up, which was sweet. I don't think I've been on a plane designed like that since, so that was some dumb luck.

    My surgeon okayed it, no extra meds or anything, but it wasn't particularly fun... and my leg was pretty swollen. But overall it was fine.

    And I'd pass on the alcohol and just stay drugged up on whatever pain killers they give you.
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow, what a Ride!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    here now
    Posts
    1,215
    I flew two weeks after knee surgery. Had bulkhead row and a wheelchair to get me through security and connecting flights at O'Hare. That was the scariest part, my wife pushing me at breakneck speed through a crowded airport filled with gapers not looking where they were going with my left leg extended fully in front. K enjoyed watching me squirm.

    I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated that, ABOVE A CERTAIN POINT, THE HIGHER A POINT SEEMS TO BE, THE LOWER IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

    --MT--

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    not close enough
    Posts
    2,535
    Seems like there's been a lot of knee surg's around these parts... no surprise. I flew back from JFK to Portland last night and somehow someway picked up some sort of venomous spider bite on my ankle, which gradually swelled and increased to an unbearable pain throughout my entire leg. It was the worst five hour flight of my life, and upon landing I took myself immediately into the ER. I have a very high pain tolerance, but this was a full leg throb that had been killing me through the past 5 hours. They gave me some sweet IV drip that numbed my entire body, stopped the infection, and put me straight to sleep. A pretty happy ending to a miserable day. Anyway, if you can, fly Jetblue and get the extra leg room seat for $40 more. well worth it. Oh, and bring plenty of your own little airplane happy bottles. The $7 each the airline charges is just silly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wasatch Back: 7000'
    Posts
    6,788
    AG's example is not the norm. It really depends upon whether you had a repair, or menisectomy. Repairs require more TLC. Really, just listen to what your doc. says.
    This spring, my wife had a meniscal repair. The doc. made us cancel our flight (trip) to C.R. I was bummed.
    "My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." M. Thatcher (RIP)
    "...
    Judges smoke it, even the lawyer too...So you've got to legalize it..." Peter Tosh

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    utah
    Posts
    4,703
    Quote Originally Posted by schindlerpiste View Post
    AG's example is not the norm. It really depends upon whether you had a repair, or menisectomy. Repairs require more TLC. Really, just listen to what your doc. says.
    This spring, my wife had a meniscal repair. The doc. made us cancel our flight (trip) to C.R. I was bummed.
    Mine was after an ACL reconstruction with a simultaneous meniscus repair (not a menisectomy) - I was totally non weight bearing for 5 weeks or so.

    It wasn't to go on vacation or anything though- it was to fly out and stay with family after surgery and I had set up PT there. I don't imagine he would have okayed it otherwise.
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow, what a Ride!"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    669
    Most of my ACL patients are not from Houston, Texas. On the fifth day after surgery, the all fly home. We average about 100 out of town patients per year. About 40% also have had a menical repair.

    The flight sucks, but so far we have had no adverse complications or deaths.
    drmark
    Mark Sanders, MD FACS
    Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine
    Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
    Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
    www.sandersclinic.net
    Houston, Texas
    713.907.6076

    Terms & conditions of use, as it relates to any and all information posted to TGR.com's discussion forums by drmark can be found at:
    http://sandersclinic.net/legal_notice.html

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    110
    I don't imagine it will be a fun travel day, but I'm pretty tough -- I'll get through it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    110
    No trip to Houston for me now for another three weeks. Today was supposed to be surgery day, but I came down sick over the weekend and now officially have the flu (seasonal).

    I'm so disappointed.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    153

    Thumbs up Good luck with the surgery!!

    Glad to hear you have found a surgeon. Keep us posted post OP.

    CHEERS!
    Quote Originally Posted by waxman View Post
    in a new feat of coolness i saw a kid on Armada fat somethings last week with Salomon 916s and Scarpa tele boots, that setup must give maximum performance...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    694
    Every time Ive flown in the last few years I've had the option to upgrade to first class at -check in for around $90 - probably worth it on the way home.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    14
    Approach the desk and ask if there is any chance you can sit in first class. You never know until you ask. Bring you most stoically pitiful look when you ask. An airport wheel chair and asking for assistance to board would definitely help the cause.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    24

    Airline accomodations

    I had a setback last weekend, and have decided I have to have my meniscus fixed before the end of the season (yes it just snowed 7 feet in Tahoe). I think a piece got stuck in the joint...so painful for two days, but it seems to have calmed down for now. Anyway, my surgeon is out of town until the end of the month, and my appointment isn't until February 15. I have a non-refundable Hawaiian vacation set for March 20. So, I'm thinking I will be less than 3 weeks out when I go on vacation. I don't know if it will be a repair or a cut out, and I guess you never know until they get in there. I would love to wait until I get back, but my schedule is brutal (I pushed everything until after my trip!!!).

    So assuming its a repair...I'm gonna be on crutches for my trip...sucks but since I'm going to sit on the beach and get bombed everyday, it won't be that big of a deal when I get there. The problem is the flight and getting around in Hawaii. Did the airlines work with you?

    I don't know if I'll be in a brace or not (I'm not seeing Dr. Mark), but assuming I am, were the airlines good about hooking you up with a bulk-head seat? Did you get up and move around? Any special advice?

    Thanks

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    110
    I booked a bulkhead seat for my flight, but once I boarded, the FA's felt sorry for me I guess with my two bandaged knees, and they asked another passenger who had a row to himself to switch with me. They told me to sit however I was comfortable, and it was great because I could put all the armrests up and stretch out.

    They were great about my cryocuffs, and were ok with me getting up and moving around, and insisted that I use the first class lavatory because it was closest.

    Bulkhead row is good for a bit of extra legroom, but there is a wall there that if I didn't have the aisle seat I think would have been problematic. Also the armrests do not raise, so it's really kind of a comfort tradeoff.

    If you're taking your cryocuffs, you have to take it empty thru security and find a restaurant or bar on the other side to fill it up for you. Security didn't question it at all.*

    Other than that, it was pretty much an uneventful flight. I was pretty achy though by the time I got home and into bed. But I was only six days post-op, too.

    *ETA: Mind you, this was before the underwear bomber.
    Last edited by KimD; 01-23-2010 at 04:23 PM.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    24
    Thanks Kim, I'll look into the airline when I get my final surgery date. Sounds like you were lucky with the FAs!!! I should be far enough out that I won't need the cryocuff. I'm dreading traveling on crutches, and after my last recon, I stayed away from business travel for months. Whether I go for surgery before or after my vacation, I'll have to fly either way...so I might as well get it done.

    Thanks again.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Front Rangin' It
    Posts
    274
    I flew from Denver > Atlanta > Jamaica > Atlanta > Denver all while on crutches and didn't have a problem at all. My first flight was two days after knee micro-fracture and I was seated in a bulkhead seat. IMO, it was terrible. At least with a normal seat you can extend your leg underneath the seat in front of you, the bulkhead might have more room but I was VERY uncomfortable. Obviously, first class would be ideal but emergency row seats are a close second. With most airlines you can upgrade at the gate for $75-100, which might be worth it for a longer flight. If you can't get an emergency seat, try asking someone already seated in one if they would trade. People are remarkably sympathetic for people on crutches. A $20 bill might help grease the wheels too.

    As far as getting around the airport the wheelchair is a gold mine. You cut in front of everyone and get to ride in the cart with the old disgruntled woman who screams at everyone to get out of the way. A small tip goes a long way too.

    Good luck, and take advantage of the crutches.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    24
    Rometheworld--so from your summary of events it looked like you went on vacation to Jamaica. I'm supposed to be flying direct to Hawaii. Not sure what might be done in my knee, and I'm meeting with my doc next week to get my surgery date. Was you leg stuck at full extension? I'm 6'2, so I don't think I'll be able to stick my leg in a normal seat for 5 hours at full extension. So, was it worth it being on vacation after knee surgery? I should be a few weeks out by the time I leave, but I can't get a refund, and I'm going to have to fly for work when I get back anyway. I also have a couple of century road bike rides this summer, so if I'm gonna get cut, now is as good a time as any. I'm going to an island myself, so I'm just wondering how you got around when you were there.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Front Rangin' It
    Posts
    274
    ^^^I was there for a family wedding so I was busy the whole time really. I was about 4 weeks out at that point so moving around on crutches wasn't a problem really. I had plenty of family around too so I was never in a position where I couldn't get what I needed. Obviously there are things you won't be able to do, but you'll manage. I could bend my leg too. If you're stuck at full extension I would recommend an emergency row or first class. You should be fine, people love to help those of us on crutches.

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