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A 53-year-old female asked:

I am a flight attendant and had a craniotomy to remove an epidural hematoma. how long before i can fly again? how will pressurization affect my head?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Marx
Pain Management 48 years experience
Good Question!: You should consult with your neurosurgeon. There are a couple of issues. If there is any air remaining in the skull, it will expand under the lower pressure of increasing altitude. I can't imagine that you are going back to work so quickly that trapped air would be a problem. You might have more of a problem with air in the mastoid air cells or sinuses rather in the epi- or sub-dural spaces.
Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology 50 years experience
Highly Specific: This question should be directed to your neurosurgeon. Generally, flying should be avoided the first month post-op to mitigate the effects of retained air.
Dr. Roger Frankel
Neurosurgery 29 years experience
Usually a month: Though there is no absolute correct answer, but generally a month should be safe in many situations. Your neurosurgeon is the only one who can tell you the best answer for your particular situation. Note that if there neurological problems from having the epidural bleed, the length of time out of work could be longer.

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Last updated Nov 23, 2019

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