Travelling post rupture

Hi everyone, I am wondering if anyone has travelled by air after their surgery? My husband had a large aneurysm rupture, was coiled, had a drain inserted & removed and has since been discharged. At the time of writing this, it has been 5 weeks since everything began and he is doing amazingly well. He is among the very, very lucky ones with no physical or cognitive limitations.

We have a trip booked for the end of October, at which time he will be at the 3 month mark. If you have travelled, did air travel cause you any pain? What about emergency medical insurance? I have read about pre-existing condition insurance with no “stability” periods which sounds interesting. IF we decide to go (and it’s a huge if) I was definitely thinking this type of insurance would be a must. If not now, then definitely in the future.

We had taken trip cancellation insurance, so I am not worried about cancelling, but I would appreciate hearing from those of you who have ventured down this road. If you are from Canada and you have travelled post surgery, please let me know which insurance you obtained.

Thank you

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Right after my rupture I did not travel but I wasn’t doing well either. But after my second and third repair I did. I think it was the third one that I flew up to DC from NC for Lobby Day. Had to fly back by myself and had a hard time, the airline was supposed to help me board and they forgot me. Then two teachers decided they wanted my seat and I could accommodate them. Had to listen to their loud obnoxious gossiping the few hours we were in the air, well, until I told them I knew the student they were talking about and they were breaching confidentiality :joy:. I have since learned to take noise canceling ear plugs, I use ones that I can listen to my music. I keep my sunglasses on because of the photophobia. The planes are safe for us, if you do a search here or on the internet you’ll find all kinds of information. When we go on a trip across the country, we pick up insurance, always have since a trip to California proved problematic with our health insurance. BH went to refill a prescription, they wouldn’t honor the NC Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and had to pay out of pocket. You might want to see how he does in large groups, maybe a festival or concert before you go.

Thank you Moltroub, I appreciate the information and the suggestion to first try being in a crowd or at an event. Great idea!

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Just flew for the first time since my coil procedure. My coil procedure was done on August 4th. R/T Cleveland-San Diego. No issues at all.
I am flying to Portugal in October and called my insurance guy. I made certain that this travel insurance policy would include pre-existing conditions.
He said: We carry GeoBLue which also covers evacuation if needed. It was only around $60. This is for internationl coverage. Check with your credit card, also. They may have coverage.

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Thank you earuss, I am so relieved to hear that there were no issues flying and I will definitely look into the insurance suggestions. Stay well!

Welcome again and thanks so much for not only posting but sharing that tidbit about insurance coverage, awesome!

This is a wonderful community discussion group. Thank you for all the work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure its ongoing success.

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Yep. I’ve flown after a ruptured annie, and coil, and shunt. I also still have an unruptured aneurism in my carotid (4-4.5mm). I used to dread/hate flying (horrible flight in the ‘80s’=PTSD).

The only thing I’ve done different, is not go through metal detectors, because it can change the settings on my shunt. Took extra gum with me for the change in air pressure. Drank plenty of water, which sadly made me go to the loo more than usual, but everything was easy peasy.

Flights are fun for me now… even when we landed sideways at SFO due to winds. I figure, I’ve already died a few times (no joke), flying does not bother me anymore. In fact, nothing really bothers me anymore.

It’s a good thing to double check with insurance, and keep any medication with you on your flight, and make sure you won’t run out of meds, or can get more where you will be staying.
Happy adventures.

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Thank you so much for sharing and for the metal.detector tips. I find it beyond amazing that after the pain and suffering of the actual event and recovery that air travel is totally within the realm of the possibility.

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Hi PoolPrincess! My rupture happened in Sept 22015, now 8 years of survival! Grateful to God. Lat year, I flew to Calf and Fla. No issues! I think it depends upon how you are healing.


I think it’s different rules if you have a shunt, then it’s not recommended to go through a metal detector. I asked my neurosurgeon if I could go through the metal detector when I was flying and he said yes, nothing can happen with my coils and stent and the machine will not alert . However, every time I have flown the person standing by the metal detector asked me and everyone else if we had any implants in our bodies and if we said yes, we had to go through a different security screening, not the ordinary metal detector.
I thought that ok, I will do as I was told by the airport security.


I got a 2 cmm clip for an aneurysm in June and flew in August with no problem.


Hi @PoolPrincess
I had a ruptured aneurysm w/ coiling in December 2019, and subsequently had a shunt installed. I’ve flown with no problems, most recently this summer I flew from Boston to Iceland.
I remember even asking my neurosurgeon after the shunt whether I could go diving (way back when, I used to do scuba diving), and he said yes, that the pressure change would be fine. TBH I haven’t been bold enough to go diving again since the rupture, but flying seemed like no problem!
As @Julie2022 noted, you may need to do a different security procedure depending on what kind of hardware is installed. (FWIW, I now have two different cards - one for the shunt and one for a stent that they installed in my brain this summer!)
Good luck!


Thank you actorveronica, 8 years wow! So glad that flying went well for you.

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Thank you oct20. Very good insight about the airport screening security process and how that might affect where you are told to go. I agree 100% to follow what airport security tells you to do, lol! So glad flying went well for you!


Fantastic MissMcK! That is so incredible! Very happy for you. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you trismegista! Very exciting to read about the scuba diving. My husband lived to snorkel, with the occasional underwater venture a couple of feet from the surface. I will make sure we ask about this at the next visit with the neurologist.

I do have a question about the “two cards” that you refer to. What are these for and who issued them? Thanks

Hi, @PoolPrincess!

The “two cards” are documentation cards for the hardware that’s installed in my brain. I have one for the VP shunt and one for a stent; they were both given to me by the hospital after the procedures to place them. TBH I have not had to use them yet, but I think the intended use is if you’re doing a security check and they notice something weird about your head and want some documentation. So far I’ve been through the metal detector and the thing where you lift up your arms and it scans you, and no one has asked for additional documentation.

Good luck!

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Thank you. At this point, no one has spoken to my husband about issuing him such a card. Maybe it is not done here in Canada or maybe not for coiling procedures. Or maybe we just haven’t got to this point yet. But I will ask the neurologist at his upcoming appointment in October.

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@trismegista I don’t have a card like the two you mentioned. I do, however, have my Operative Report, prepared by my neurosurgical team when my aneurysm was clipped. It lists all of the different pieces of metal that are inside of my body. For each piece, it includes the name of the piece, the manufacturer of the piece, the part number of the piece, and the serial number of my specific part/piece.

Although this may be useful at airport security, I simply declare I’m unable to pass through any airport scanners due to surgical metal. Thus I am subjected to alternative “pat-down” security screening which is terribly invasive.

I use my Operative Report metal information any time an MRI is ordered by one of my doctors. My aneurysm surgery was done in 2009, and at that time the parts they installed in me were deemed “safe only at 1.5 Tesla,” which was the strength level of the magnet in the MRI machine at that time.

Since then, 3.0 Tesla strength MRI machines have become the norm. Since 3.0 Tesla strength magnet machines were not in existence when my surgery was performed, the parts in my body were only tested at 1.5 Tesla. Therefore, I am unable to have MRIs on a 3.0 Tesla machine. All hospitals and MRI centers have reference resources that list every surgical metal part by manufacturer name, including every part number they have produced, and the corresponding safety level in Tesla for each part. Every time a patient fills out pre-imaging paperwork for an MRI, there are questions that require disclosure of these specifications for all surgical metal parts. These are life and death questions and must be taken very seriously. If a patient has metal in their body and cannot provide this information, they are refused the opportunity to have an MRI.

I also wear a medical ID bracelet engraved with my name, condition (brain aneurysm patient) and “MRI safe only at 1.5 Tesla.”

There are separate discussion threads here on how to get these ID cards or Operative Reports, as well as how to get personalized medical ID jewelry.

Hope this helps! @PoolPrincess