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Cold Prior to Tummy Tuck Surgery

Hi. I am having a huge issue this morning. I have a tummy tuck/abdominalplastly scheduled for Thursday (3 days from now) but I have a slightly bad cough with occasional mucus expulsion and my nose is runny with mucus. I am taking antibiotics since Friday and while I have gotten better its still bad. I'm supposed to visit the doctors office to finish paying for my surgery Tuesday but really feel that it would need to be rescheduled. I'm scared of complications- should I be? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Doctor Answers 6

Deferring surgery for symptomatic upper respiratory infection

Recovering from a tummy tuck with a cold can be miserable and result in increased fevers and productive cough. I would recommend deferring surgery based on your reports.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

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Cold Prior to Tummy Tuck Surgery

CANCEL!!! Why take any risks for obtaining that perfect result? At the preop visit discuss in detail, I'm sure the surgeon will reschedule your operation. It just makes good sense. 

Cosmetic surgery should be planned to maximize success

If this surgery had to get done on Thursday, for example, you fell off your bike and broke your leg.  We would hardly give your cold a second thought.  However, cosmetic surgery can be planned to maximize success.  You don't want to take any added risk just to keep an arbitrary schedule.  If you have an infection, it should be cleared up before cosmetic surgery is done.

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
Los Gatos Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Elective Surgery SHOULD BE POSTPONED if you have a cold

Having an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) dramatically raises the risks of surgery and recovery. The incidence of pneumonia goes up dramatically. Since the initial discomfort of a Tummy Tuck may make it harder to fully fill you lungs and expel air (and mucous) your cold can become a life-threatening pneumonia.

Unless you had a surgical emergency which already put your life or function in danger (ruptured appendix or ulcer, gunshot wound, leaking aneurysm, etc), I would postpone the surgery. I am SURE your surgeon would be relieved you told him of it today rather than after surgery when breathing complications may have forced you into a monitored bed or the ICU.

Good Luck.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Postpone tummy tuck until you are well

No good doctor would want to do a tummy tuck on someone who is sick, especially one with a cough.  Check with him/her and they'll probably be glad to reschedule you.

Cold or respiratory infections can place you at increased risk

Cold and other respiratory infections can place you at increased risk for complications during and after surgery.  Most of these risks are related to anesthesia and breathing. Pneumonia and spiration is always a concern in this situation. Also, you may find yourself in more post-operative pain if you are coughing. This can also lead to breaking of internal stitches. Obviously speak to your surgeon, but I am sure most of us would agree that your surgery should be delayed until you are healthier.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.