What happens if you get sick with a cough or cold before surgery?

Im really concerned since my surgery is January 7.. a lot of people get sick in the winter.. so im really worried about getting sick before my surgery since my doctors papers have a warning about getting a cough or cold... If i get a cough or cold will my surgery be cancelled? or is it only for REALLY bad coughs.. like one that you need to go to the Dr. for because its so bad?

Doctor Answers 49

Your surgeon may choose to re-schedule...

It’s not unusual for pre-operative breast augmentation
patients to develop cough and cold symptoms during the winter months of the
year. When this situation arises,
patients should be carefully evaluated by both their plastic surgeon and
colds are minor, it’s probably reasonable to proceed with breast augmentation
surgery.Colds and coughs that are
associated with elevated temperatures, sputum production, signs of influenza,
wheezing and signs of generalized illness should result in cancellation of the
these circumstances, illnesses can progress and significantly complicate the
post-operative course.In some cases,
secondary complications such as pneumonia, infection, bleeding and hematoma
could result.In addition, a chronic
cough can create significant discomfort in the post-operative period.
these reasons, it’s occasionally necessary to cancel breast augmentation
procedures and re-schedule at a later date.It’s important to remember that safety should always be everyone’s first

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Too sick with a cold for surgery?

It's always good to be in your best health when undergoing surgery. It's important to keep in mind that Cosmetic Surgery is elective surgery, it doesn't have to be done ASAP. It's also important for you to let your surgeon know about your cough or cold so that they can determine if you are in good enough health to undergo your procedure. If your surgeon decides to postpone the surgery, keep in mind that they are doing so for YOUR safety. 

Francis X. Fleming, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Best to be as healthy as possible before surgery

Elective cosmetic surgery should be performed with as minimal risk as possible. Therefore, it is best to be healthy before your surgery. If you happen to develop a cough or cold before surgery with fever your procedure may need to postponed. The risks are that your cold can worsen due to the stress of anesthesia and surgery or worse that you could rarely develop an infection at your surgery site.

Your plastic surgeon, internist and/or anesthesia provider can help determine if postponement is necessary.

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

If you get sick before cosmetic surgery it is better to postpone your operation

Thank you for your question. In my opinion, cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure and should be done under ideal condition. It is best to wait until your symptom free before undergoing surgery. Make sure you notify your surgeon as well as your anesthesiologist of your symptoms. Better be safe than sorry.

I hope this helps. Best wishes. Dr. Salameh (Plastic surgeon - Bowling Green, KY)

Bernard S. Salameh, MD
Bowling Green Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Illness before surgery

Thank you for your question and this is a common concern.

As plastic surgeons we want you to get a fantastic result from your surgery, but our first priority is your health and safety. I perform breast augmentation surgery under general anaesthesia. The anaesthetist will monitor your heart and lungs carefully during the procedure.

If you are unwell with some sort of bacterial infection, it would be unwise to place a foreign material, such as a breast implant, into your body, as germs may travel in your bloodstream and infect the implant. If you are recovering from a cold or have a cough, I will be guided by my anaesthetist as to your fitness for surgery. If there are doubts, the safe thing to do is to wait until you are completely well.

Your safety and welfare always comes first. The surgery can come a little later if needs be.

Damian Marucci, MBBS, PhD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Sickness prior to surgery

The main concern about an illness prior to surgery is the risk of increasing complications at the time of surgery, especially regarding the anesthesia. Without going into excessive detail,  there are a myriad of issues regarding a health issue at the time of elective surgery. Minor issues, such as a minimal, non-productive cough can be overlooked in many cases.

All the best,

Talmage Raine MD

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Sick before surgery

It is important to have a consult with your anesthesiologist prior to your surgery date to discuss current symptoms and how to treat them before your big day.  If warranted you can see your primary care doctor prior to be treated with antibiotics.

Lane F. Smith MD
8871 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89117
SmithSurgery  . com

Lane Smith, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Get sick before+breast augmentation +tummy tuck+lipo +mommy make over

Hi and thanks for your question,

As a rule, I don't want my patients having elective cosmetic surgery if they are ill. The infection could spread to the incision or the implant in the case of breast augmentation. It could also be transmitted into the lungs during anesthesia.

It's not worth it. If you have signs of systemic illness, fever, productive cough or cold, or have an open skin infection, wait til you are completely better and back to full speed.

Hope this helps!


Dr Lakshman

Shankar Lakshman, MD
Pasadena Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Sick with cold/cough before surgery

One must be in their best health before undergoing any kind of surgery. If you have cold, cough & irritable throat, the surgery must be postponed to a later date till you recover. We avoid giving general anesthesia to patients that have irritable throat. You must first cure your sore throat with medication and once completely recovered, you can reschedule your surgery. 

Rajat Gupta, MD
India Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

What if I have a Cold before Elective surgery?

Thank you for your question.  This comes up quite a bit with elective cosmetic surgery because patients are concerned about whether or not a cough, cold or other minor infection may delay surgery.  There is no scientific evidence that a minor cold or cough increases the risk of undergoing elective surgery.  However, recovering from surgery and recovering from a cold at the same time can certainly make a patient miserable.  The issue about whether or not to delay surgery really depends on how sick the patient is and the judgment of the anesthesiologist and the surgeon.  In my practice, if patients have a relatively minor cold or cough and wish to proceed with the surgery, we allow them to.  If patients are sicker and have fever, chills or any other symptoms of a significant illness, we advise delaying the surgery until they feel better.

Neal Handel, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

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.