Ou-of-state craniotomy?

Hello, I was wondering if any of you had a craniotomy out of state. I am seriously considering doing it, but I was wondering how easy is to fly or drive back (my husband will be doing the driving if that is the case). I have a 2.3cms left occipital avm and the doctors say that the surgery should take about 4 hours. I am 20 hours away (driving) from the hospital I am considering to have the surgery). This will be my first and I am a little nervous. I'd appreciate if you can share your experiences! Thank you!

From all I have heard and with our experience, driving/riding shouldn’t be a problem. You can rest and relax in the car…even if it is 20 hours. You would need to consult with your doctor as far as flying I have heard cabin pressure can cause issues.

Serendipity...I only lived 2 hours away from the hospital where I had my cran...however, I believe you would be fine driving if you have a comfortable place to lay and rest. The best is that you have a neurosurgeon that you trust and have faith in. Once you make your decision, please ask the doctor if driving is a good option. Wish you the best! Stay Strong & Positive!

Yes. I live in Ohio and I had surgery in Arizona. We drove there, took us 4 days. I flew back 3 weeks after my surgery and my husband drove back. I had to have the surgery out of state because Dr.Spetzler , in Arizona, is the only Surgeon that could do the surgery (brainstem)

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I talked to my doctor as some of you suggested and he recommended to fly, so that I don't get too tired during the trip.

Great question Serendipity. Everybody has given you great feedback but the ultimate answer should come from your doctor. When are you having your craniotomy?? And please keep us posted on how everything goes for you.

Serendipity, I was at school in a different country when my bleed occurred and was flown to the nearest Trauma Center in the US which just happened to be in Florida (20 + hours driving away from my home state). After my surgery, I was told that it wouldn't be a good idea for me to fly back home for recovery but driving or taking a train was fine. My insurance helped to cover and arrange travel arrangements back home from the hospital after my craniotomy. I took Amtrak, specifically thier frontier line! It was a really nice and comfortable train. Almost seem like being on a plane or mini hotel room. My cabin/room on the train had a bed and bathroom. The trip on the train was about 24 hours! It was a good experience. Traveling by train could be an option for you. Hope that all is well :)

If you have been okayed to fly after surgery and are worried…you can always give the flight attendants a heads up (pun intended) about your situation. I am a Flight Attendant. We carry many passengers with special needs. If anything were to happen…it helps to know in advance what the past medical issues are. My airline has a direct line with a hospital in Phoenix so we can talk to a medical doctor…if necessary. But be aware…that with weather and mechanical delays flying can be a major hassle when you do not feel well. Good luck!

Thank you all for your responses. My surgery was in early June and everything went fine. At the end, I decided to take a plane after the surgery, as recommended by my doctors. The flights were uneventful on my way back home, but at one of the airports (had to take a connecting flight) the alarms went off. Listening to intense sounds was not fun at that point, but I think that overall, it went okay.
Recovery is going well. Thanks again for sharing your experiences and your positive thoughts/prayers.

I'm so glad your surgery and flight went well, Serendipity. Keep staying strong and positive during your recovery.

By the way, I understand how it must have been with that alarm going off.....Hearing loud notices is extremely hard at first.

Hello Serendipity,
I had brainstem surgery in Arizona, which is 2000 miles from home in Ohio. No surgeons here would do the surgery... Dr.Robert Spetzler in Phoenix did my surgery. My husband drove us there on the way, and I came back flying by myself to come back. I was given the ok to fly back. I didnt have any problems at all!

I just saw that you had the surgery~! I am glad it went well!