The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 29, Issue 6, 1119 - 1122

Risk of Symptomatic Venous Thromboembolism Associated With Flying in the Early Postoperative Period Following Elective Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Cooper, H. John et al.
Hip Knee

Air travel and total joint arthroplasty (TJA) are both risk factors for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Patients are counseled against flying after surgery, however the basis for this recommendation has not been investigated and may be unfounded. A retrospective cohort of 1465 consecutive TJA patients was divided into a study population of 220 patients (15.0%) who flew home at a mean of 2.9 days after surgery (range, 1–10 days) and a control population of 1245 patients (85.0%) who did not fly. We found no differences in the rate of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or overall VTE between the groups, and incidence of all events was low in both groups and comparable with published data. Allowing air travel after TJA appears to be a safe practice.

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