Phlegm After Surgery?

I just had a mommy makeover 2 days ago and my biggest struggle has been phlegm in my throat/lungs after surgery. I feel like I need to cough it up often, but every time I cough I have tremendous, almost unbearable pain. I haven't seen this issue posted on this site. Is it unusual to have this problem? Any suggestions?

Doctor Answers 6

Phlegm after Mommy Makeover Surgery

    Yes, this is a very common occurrence after mommy makeover surgery or after any surgery utilizing general anesthesia with endotracheal tube.  Keeping the airway clear is good as well as deep breathing with incentive spirometry and ambulation. 

Surgery with general anesthesia commonly creates mucous in the upper airway and coughing.

An endotracheal tube can generate a small amount of irritation of the upper airway.  The cells respond by secreting protective mucous that may trigger the need to cough and clear the airway.  This can be problematic after abdominal surgery but in spite of the pain, the airway needs to be kept clean.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Respiratory concerns after mommy makeover

Some coughing or throat discomfort is not uncommon after an operation because a tube is inserted in your airway to assist with breathing while you are asleep.  However, if the pain is unbearable or the cough persists it would be safest to contact your surgeon or seek other medical attention.

Important to cough, deep breathe, and walk after surgery

Deep breathing, coughing, and walking are all very important to your overall health and prevention of complications post operatively. It sometimes helps to hold a pillow over your abdomen when you need to cough. An incentive spirometer (see your surgeon for a prescription) is also beneficial in helping you deep breathe and clear out any secretions. If the pain while coughing is unbearable you should talk to your surgeon about pain control. Best wishes.

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Phlegm after TT/MM.

Talk to your PS and see if they can prescribe and incentive spiromoter. Using this will expand your lungs and restore a normal mucous flow. You might also discuss al little better pain control. Good luck, Dr. Aldo.

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Phlegm after Mommy Makeover?

One of our major concerns, as plastic surgeons, after the extensive surgery that you have undergone, is prevention of pulmonary complications.  Generally speaking, patients are encouraged to ambulate, deep breathe, and cough in order to help prevent postoperative complications such as pneumonia.

 Although I cannot provide you with specific advice, if you feel that you are having significant issues in regards to your pulmonary system, you should contact your plastic surgeon for specific advice.

 Best wishes.

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.