If you’re traveling after surgery, be mindful of your condition

Nikki Sommer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM for Medical Matters this morning.

One important issue to consider after any surgery is when you are given the green light to travel – which is something to think about during the holidays.

Sommer said, “Just try and plan ahead. Obviously if it’s emergency surgery, I can’t be helped but taking precautions after surgery when you travel is really, really important.”

The two most extensive surgeries that are put off for travel are hernia and gall bladder.

Sommer said, “During the summer and towards the holidays, it’s kind of like a rat race of trying to get everything squeezed in in a short amount of time. So surgeries and procedures usually get cancelled and put on the back burner for one reason or another.”

If you have put off hernia surgery, just be careful not to aggravate it.

Sommer said, “Besides travel, even just putting up the decorations or carrying heavy boxes up and down the stairs, you definitely can aggravate a hernia. Some people have hernias that don’t need surgical intervention right now. They’re not a problem. However, certain maneuvers and heavy lifting, of course, can aggravate that and then can change that and make it an emergency.”

If you’re traveling with a hernia, there are precautions you can take.

Sommer said, “Some people I think want to throw everything in one suitcase so they have less to cart around. But if you do have any type of medical condition that could be aggravated by carting a very large suitcase or something that’s really heavy, you should ask for assistance, especially when flying. I mean it’s there. Take advantage of it.”

When you travel, make sure you know where the nearest medical center is.

Sommer said, “Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a couple of patients call that they’re on an island or in the middle of nowhere and they had surgery a while ago, but something has come up and they were having a medical emergency and it was very hard for them to get care that they need. So if you have surgery and you’re leaving the country or going to a remote island, just make sure you really feel good. Don’t ignore any signs of issues could be on the rise, and then you get there and you run into trouble.”

Even a strong sneeze or cough can make a hernia a real problem.

Sommer said, “Because a hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall and over time, it just gets weaker, it will not repair itself. So even something like a cough or a sneeze can turn that non-problematic hernia into a problem.”

A gall bladder attack can also become an emergency.

Sommer said, “The gallbladder is that tricky little guy that contracts if you eat a fatty meal, so a lot of times when you have stones like we talked about, or if there’s irritation, the walls are inflamed, it’ll hurt. It is very painful. I have dealt with lots of patients, especially when I worked at urgent care who come in, they’re here on vacation, they went a little too crazy and now they were having a gallbladder attack and it probably ruined their vacation. Then it becomes an emergency.”

If a gallbladder attack comes on during vacation and there’s no stone, you could possibly wait for surgery.  

Sommer explained, “If you’re away and you have a gallbladder attack, you didn’t know you had gallbladder disease and there’s no stone obstructing the bile duct in the gallbladder and you want to wait for surgery, you should wait at least 24 hours without pain before flying. Just because of the pressure when you fly. It’s very uncomfortable. You’re not going to want to fly if you have abdominal pain from the gallbladder.”

There are important tips for travel after surgery.

Sommer said, “It is important that if you come in to us and you know you’re having surgery, let us know if you’re going to travel. That way we can plan your surgery accordingly. It is better to wait a week or two or waiting to fly four to 10 days after you have surgery or your gallbladder at least four to five days. I know sometimes that can’t be avoided. It’s an emergency and you already have plans and you have to go. If you’re driving just stop frequently because the biggest risk and concern after surgery is getting a blood clot and that’s from sitting for extended periods in a plane or a car. So, if you’re taking a short flight, maybe just like a three hour flight, get up once in between walk to the restroom and back. Car rides, try every two to three hours get out, stretch your legs, walk around. You just don’t want to be sitting for long periods of time because you do increase your risk for blood clots.”

Key West Surgical Group has the PicoSure Laser that can help remove skin discoloration or tattoos.

Sommer said, “We can help remove that. If you know somebody that needs to kind of make a mistake go away, we can we can help with that. People have to sometimes not dress the way they want to because they don’t want to show a tattoo that they have that they don’t want to explain the story behind it.”

Even if the tattoo is multi-colored, it can disappear.

Skin can also be rejuvenated – just in time for the holidays.

Sommer said, “You can come in for a treatment. We do recommend three. But definitely if you want to get a pretty little glow on before the holidays, I definitely recommend come seeing us. If you know anybody that’s interested, but is not sure, we have gift certificates available and the consultation is free. So we’re here to help with all your gifting needs. A lot of people feel guilty if they do it for themselves. They feel like they’re going to spend money and they have guilt. So it is nice to give it as a gift because then it’s like yes, it’s okay, you can take care of yourself.”

Rejuvenation will help the skin look more healthy.

Sommer said, “What it does is it kind of breaks up if you have hyperpigmentation or if you have acne scarring, it will help clear that up. It stimulates collagen and elastin production. So even though you have three treatments and there about one month apart, after the first treatment, you might not see a great difference. But after the second you will start to see fine lines, wrinkles, your pores will shrink down, if you have areas of sun damage or hyperpigmentation and melasma, that will definitely lighten. Your skin might appear tighter. You can rejuvenate that skin.”

For more information, click here: https://www.keywestsurgicalgroup.com/