Congratulations on your new breast implants! The surgery’s over, you’ve recovered, and now you want to get back to normal life without incident. But it’s possible you may be worried about some aspects, such as air travel.

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Always talk to your doctor before attempting anything, as opinions vary and every patient’s body is different. But reading the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding breast implant plane travel may set you at ease.

  • Will I be able to fly with my new breast implants?

Yes. Once you have fully recovered from the surgery, you will be able to do everything you’ve ever done, including travel by plane.

  • Can I fly immediately following surgery?

No. The bare minimum wait before stepping on a plane is 24 hours, but most doctors advise waiting anywhere between two days and two weeks before flying, to make sure that the body is healing normally and no infection or complications have arisen.

  • So I’m gonna fly. What should I do differently to make sure I’m okay?

Airplane travel is known to increase the risk of blood clotting in the legs. Plus, breast augmentation, just like any surgery, affects blood flow as the body heals itself, increasing this clotting risk. Women with new implants should be sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and walk around the cabin to stretch their legs and keep blood clots from forming in the legs.

  • I’ve fully recovered from my surgery. Are there any risks?

For the vast majority of patients, no. However, some women have expressed feeling tightness in their breasts during a flight, often on account of small amounts of air inside the implants in conjunction with the change in cabin pressure. However, as implants are designed to withstand pressure, there is nothing to be concerned about. Women who experience this pressure change will feel things return to normal after the flight.

While both saline and silicone breast implants are fine to fly, the design of saline implants make them more likely to contain these air pockets. Frequent fliers might consider this when deciding between saline and silicone. 

  • What about the security line? Will my implants cause a problem?

In the past, implants have passed through the metal detector with no problem. But the full-body scanners implemented in late 2010 can pick up breast implants, and while Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers generally know what they’re looking at, the TSA nevertheless recommends (but does not require) that patients with implants advise the screening officer. Women may also carry a travel communication card that explains the situation in writing, for additional discretion.

Some concern arose in summer of 2011 over a TSA briefing on the possibility of “breast-implant bombs,” but policy was not changed as a result of the briefing. TSA officials screen thousands of people with implants every day; even if officials require a pat down, your breast implants will not keep you from boarding your flight.

As always, consult your doctor if you feel discomfort of any sort on account of your breast implants. For the vast majority of women, though, breast implants will not change the way they fly.