How Long After a Joint Replacement Surgery Can You Travel?

traveling after joint replacement
Once your joint replacement surgery is done, the first question that might cross your mind is when you will be able to return to your everyday life. The truth is that recovering from a joint replacement surgery is not as easy as one might think, and it certainly requires time and patience. This article will give you valuable tips for quickly returning to everyday life.
Recovery Tips for Joint Replacement: Travel
You may ask when you will be able to travel via car or plane again. Of course, you have to be cautious not to rush recovery. The goal is always to enjoy your trip fully while keeping yourself safe.
How Long Should I Wait to Travel Again?
The majority of surgeons will tell you that you need to wait at least six weeks after your joint replacement surgery to be able to travel safely again. However, this all depends on your fitness before the surgery. Some doctors may be more relaxed and advise traveling as soon as you can sit upright for an hour without discomfort.
In any case, a minimum of at least four weeks is a must. Finalizing your travel plans depends on how you’re feeling, the trip’s duration, the planned activities, and the type(s) of transportation used.
Which Seat is Proper for Me?
If you are traveling by airplane, you should consider reserving a seat that maximizes your comfort. Since most travelers can’t afford first-class, look for other options that offer more legroom. Some airlines provide business or premium cabin classes, but some options don’t cost more. For example, sitting in the emergency exit row offers more leg room. If no other option is available, sit in an aisle seat.
Do I Need Regular Breaks?
Sitting for prolonged hours while traveling is regularly a part of the experience. However, it might affect your joints, creating discomfort and stiffness. Frequent breaks to get up and walk during your trip will help manage these. For example, if you are on an airplane, try to get up once every 15-20 minutes. Also, rather than booking one long flight, split it into two or more flights so you can get off the plane and walk.
Is It Easy to Go Through the Security Check at Airports?
Your artificial joint will set off a metal detector. But you can take some steps to speed up the screening process.
  • Download this TSA card and follow the directions
  • Carry a letter from your surgeon stating the location and type of implant you have
  • Full-body scanners will show the implant – opt for the scanner if you have a choice.
  • Tell the TSA agent about your implant as soon as you get in line.
In some cases, there might be a wand scan or simple pat-down on the side of the implant. This additional screening should cause only minimal delay.
What About Car Travel?
You do not have to worry about security checkpoints when traveling in a car. Even better, you can manage as many stops as needed to give yourself time to walk and prevent stiffness. You may consider sitting in the backseat and elevating your leg on the seat to feel more comfortable. Alternatively, you can choose the passenger seat and push it back to have as much leg room as you need.
Most doctors recommend no driving for at least six weeks if the joint replacement is on the right side.
Recovering from a joint replacement is a slow process, but if you follow your doctor and physical therapist’s advice, you’ll be back doing the activities you love most, including traveling.
Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, P.A.
Are you considering joint replacement therapy? Carolina Regional Orthopaedics, P.A. can help. Our experts will guide you through the whole process, and soon you’ll feel like your active self again. So, if you’re looking for a joint replacement in Rocky Mount, NC, call us at 252-443-0400 and schedule an appointment today.