Flying with blebs after pleurodesis

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I have had pneumothorax in both my left and right lungs back in 2012. I have had pleurodesis during my second lung collapse. Since then, I have had no more problems. 2 years ago, I was planning a trip to China so I went in to get checked up. It was discovered I have bilateral spical bullous disease. This causes me to have some blebs in my lungs and the trip was cancelled. My surgeon and doctor are both unsure of how flying will affect me and what my risk level is at. 

This year, I am planning a trip to cuba and i am worried about flying. Has anyone been in this situation or have any advice for me? 

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I had pleurodesis over 30 years ago.  I flew commercial flights many times over the years with no problems. However, I had to fly on a private jet for work and I did have a problem.  After we had been in the air a short while, I felt that ice pick stabbing pain - I’m sure you know what I am talking about.  I was aware that there were some blebs left after my surgery, and knew that’s my lungs couldn’t collapse, but it was painful. From what I understand, private jets fly at higher altitudes than commercial flights.  I guess that’s why I had the problem.  Hope this helps. 
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    • Posted

      I had to grin and bear it during the flight as we were with some really important clients. I was in pain, but I knew (or assumed) that I wasn’t in any danger as I figure there is no way for a lung to collapse after you have had pleurodesis.  After the trip, I went to bed for a few days and it got better. 

      I have had blebs pop 6 or 7 times over the years since my surgery, but only once from flying.  A few times were possibly caused by severe coughing after being sick with upper respiratory problems from bad colds, etc.  Some other times, there hasn’t been any identifiable cause - it just happens. 

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    • Posted

      It sure is hard at times.  And so frustrating that very few people, including doctors, can understand what you are talking about.  I’m glad this group is here.  Lots of good people with first hand knowledge of the problems to offer advise and support.  
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    • Posted

      It feels like someone stabbed you in the back with an ice pick. Then, every time you breathe it hurts.  If you cough or sneeze, it feels like your lung is ripping out of your chest.  
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  • Posted

    This is really interesting to read, I'm getting more info here than I did trying to ring the hospitals and doctors that dealt with me! I have recently had a 2nd pleurodesis in 4 years on the same lung (although the scar tissue from the 1st one 'held' everything together, the lung collapsed around the 1st op!) Have doctors advised against flying post-surgery for anyone? Or is it only after the initial collapse that flying is unadvisable? I have a holiday booked in a month's time and my return consultant appointment in 10 days before I am due to travel! 

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    • Posted

      The only warning I was ever given about flying was not to fly in non pressurized airplanes - like little 2 or 4 seater planes and some military planes.  I would think that all commercial flights would have pressurized cabins - don’t think you could survive at those altitudes if they were not. However, my surgery was 30+ years ago and things may have changed. 

      How horrible that you had to have the surgery repeated on the same lung!  I’ve never heard of anyone having to go through that.  Must have been very hard to deal with. 

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