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Aviat Space Environ Med. 2014 Jan;85(1):75-7.

Air travel with known pneumocephalus following outpatient sinus surgery.

Author information

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, TX, USA.
  • 2Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
  • 3Department of Neurosurgery, San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, TX, USA.



Intracranial air is a common finding after many neurosurgical procedures and trauma to the head. In patients requiring transport via air to reach a destination there is risk of expansion of the intracranial air and development of neurological complications. Though relatively uncommon after functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS), pneumocephalus may be encountered.


We describe one of our patients in whom intracranial air was introduced during FESS. Following the procedure she required commercial air transportation from our center to her home. A 45-min commercial flight to the destination was safely completed without the patient experiencing any neurological sequellae.


This case highlights the controversy surrounding air travel with pneumocephalus and provides an example of safe commercial air travel after diagnosis of post-FESS pneumocephalus.

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