Flying with blebs after pleurodesis

Posted , 7 users are following.

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? 

2 likes, 11 replies

11 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. 
    • Posted


      What happened after your flight? Pain went away by itself? Did you have to go to the hospital? 

    • 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. 

    • Posted

      It gets really hard to deal with this condition at times. Thank you for the insight 
    • 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.  
    • 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.  
  • 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! 

    • 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. 

  • Posted


    I had a spontaneous pneumothorax (slim tall guy) on my left lung in 2020 . The lung was collapsed completely, but with the chest drainage it managed to recover 100%. The surgeon strongly recommended to do mechanical pleurodesis after few months as prevention to stop recurrence.

    I got almost well, did a lot of blood tests before the surgery and few days before surgery date I got SP again on the same lung. The good thing that my lung wasn't collapsed completely. The situation in general was much better and I recovered very quick. However, the recommendation to do pleurodesis remains.

    I asked other surgeon to check my case. My main question was is it really required to do pleurodesis. I've been confirmed that it is only one way to prevent from recurrence.

    Before Covid-19 pandemic I had ~70 flights annual due to my job. After the pandemic will be over, I'll get back to normal routine and a lot of commercial flights. The worst thing that long haul flights (10-12 hours) might be dominant.

    Will I be able to do so many flights after mechanical pleurodesis surgery? I don't care about pain which might occur during the flights. I'm concerned about recurrence of SP during the flight even after pleurodesis. It is essential question as if I won't be able to fly, I'll be forced to change my work which would be really bad. Alternative is 3 time less income and I have big family with small children. I have to take care about them.

    I'll be thankful if you could share your experience about flights after mechanical pleurodesis.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.