Travel after surgery

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 1/17/2011 5:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys,
I am scheduled for open surgery in February.  I am flying up to Mass General from surgery.  The surgeon has told me to spend 1 or 2 nights at a hotel intown after release. 
I am concerned about the flight back.  Is getting to and from the airport and the flight itself reasonable to do with catheter still in place?

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4849
   Posted 1/17/2011 7:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the site. Sorry you have to be here.
Which surgery are you having? open or Robotic.
You'll be pretty darn weak after either of the surgeries. They want you to walk after surgery but not to the point of over doing it. You should probably use one of the airport wheel chairs.
The cath probably won't be an isssue. Just empty it before boarding. How long is the flight?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 1/17/2011 7:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I will be flying back from Boston to Atlanta (2 1/2 hours).
I am having the open surgery.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 1/17/2011 9:15 AM (GMT -6)   
I had open and while I would not have done the flight alone after 2 days it would have been doable with someone along for support, just in case. Are you going with someone? Can you stay an extra day just to be sure?

Dave in Durango CO

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7084
   Posted 1/17/2011 9:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I was in the hospital for 4 days with my DaVinci, but even after that just managed the 20-minute trip home in the car. I've seen mention from others about immediate travel by plane, but I can't see it being advisable.
I would think you would want a larger bag than just the leg bag, as you can't really be sure of being able to empty the bag, and you will be pushing a lot of fluids. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 1/17/2011 1:58 PM (GMT -6)   
While I certainly can stay in town after the surgery, I was looking forward to recovering in the comfort of my own recliner.  I may look to spend a few extra days to play it safe.

PSA 3.9 - October 2010 at annual physical
PSA 4.1 - November 2010 after a month of antibiotic, DRE Normal
Age 41 in December 2010 at Dx of 6 of 12 cores positive T1C and Gleason 3 + 3

Scheduled for open RP on 2/14/11 at Mass General

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 1/17/2011 2:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Matt, and welcome.

I had open surgery, spent 4 1/2 days in hospital. Only had to travel 30 minutes less home by car, and for me, it was rough, felt every bump and pothole. Not sure I would have been comfortable being in the confines of an airplane seat for that long. On the catheter side, the average leg bag holds about 400ml. May or may not be enough, without having to empty in the plane's toilet, if you can get to it. I did have one leg bag that held 1000 ml, so you might want to look into a bigger one. I woudln't reccomend using the "night" bag, or the large one, as it would be too easy to tangle the tube, and it would be difficult to store or get out of the way on a crowded plane. Just my take.

David in SC
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos marg
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06 11/10 Not taking it
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/23/10

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 476
   Posted 1/18/2011 8:23 AM (GMT -6)   

Welcome to HW.

I had an open surgery at Duke (Durham, NC) . Two nights in the hospital and three nights in the hotel nearby. I flew home with help if my wife. I live in NJ, so a flight is a shirt hour and ten min. It was not a problem. Getting from hospital to a hotel - a dive min ride - was mire of a problem. I fly a lot so had a lot of frequent flier miles to upgrade to first class. A but more comfortable with the bag.

Wear baggy soft pants and no one will even suspect anything.

Having said that, if you can stay a week or so in Boston, you'll be better off.

Best of luck,

Father died from poorly differentiated PCa @ 78 - normal PSA and DRE
5 biopsies over 4 years negative while PSA going from 3.8 to 28
Dx Nov 2007, age 46, PSA 29, Gleason 4+4=8
Decided to participate in clinical trial at Duke - 6 rounds of chemo (Taxotere + Avastin)
PSA prior to treatment 1/8/2008 is 33.90, bounced on 1/31/2008 to 38.20, and down at the end of the treatment (4/24/2008) to 20.60
RRP at Duke (Dr. Moul) on 6/16/2008, Gleason downgraded 4+3=7, T3a N0MX, focal extraprostatic extension, two small positive margins
PSA undetectable for 8 months, then 2/6/2009 0.10, 4/26/2009 0.17, 5/22/2009 0.20, 6/11/2009 0.27
ADT (ongoing, duration TBD): Lupron started 6/22/2009
Salvage IMRT to prostate bed and pelvis - 72gy over 40 treatments finished 10/21/2009
PSA 6/25/2009 0.1, T=516, 7/23/2009 <0.05, T<10, 10/21/2009 <0.05, T<10

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 2680
   Posted 1/18/2011 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi, Mack.  Good luck with your upcoming surgery and travel.  In December, a friend of mine drove 9 hours to Mayo in Minnesota, then 9 hours back home, and a week later made the trip again to have the catheter removed.  He did fine, so I would say your trip is do-able. 

The idea of travel didn't appeal to me, but from what I've seen here, if you're in reasonably good physical shape, and especially if you're on the younger side, you should do fine.

It would be interesting to hear, though, what led you to choose a trip to Boston instead of having your open surgery done in or near Atlanta.   If you'd be willing to share your decision-making process, I think it would make interesting reading.  In any case, please keep in touch and don't hestitate to share any questions you may have.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 78
   Posted 1/18/2011 11:14 AM (GMT -6)   
As many of you have been through this experience, you know how hard it is to find a doctor who you are comfortable with the number of procedures, statistics, etc.

In talking to friends and family, a friend of my brother's did his residency for Dr. McGovern at MGH. He has done over 3400 surgeries and after doing more research on my own appears to come highly recommended.

I decided that the inconvenience/expense of travel was small in comparison to the reassurance that I felt like I was going to someone I could trust.

That being said, I'm sure there are good docs, in Atlanta, I just didn't have firsthand knowledge of one.
PSA 3.9 - October 2010 at annual physical
PSA 4.1 - November 2010 after a month of antibiotic, DRE Normal
Age 41 in December 2010 at Dx of 6 of 12 cores positive T1C and Gleason 3 + 3

Scheduled for open RP on 2/14/11 at Mass General
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