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 37

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.

Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

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

May or may not need to cancel surgery

The biggest concern with getting sick before surgery is your compromised immune system and a higher risk of infection (especially if you have a fever). While your surgery may not be cancelled, it’s always best to tell your surgeon so they can make the call.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 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 14 reviews

Healthy as possible

Definitely the biggest concern with getting sick before surgery is that your immune system is compromised and a higher risk of infection (especially if you have a fever). You need to inform your surgeon as soon as possible if you are sick and arrangements will be made. Such as antibiotics ahead of time or possibly postponing the surgery.

David Rosenstein, MD
Boynton Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Sick Surgery is a NO GO

HI NewYearsNewBoobs, I believe you've answered your own question here! Your surgeon has already for warned you in your consent paperwork about being ill going into surgery. **It's not going to happen!** That being said, you aren't sick!! Just take best precautions, wash your hands as much as possible.  And take leave of those around you that may show signs of illness. Unfortunately, most are contagious before symptoms appear, but at worse if you catch a bug, you'll just need to reschedule your procedure. This is far better than risking harm. Elective surgeries are not a time to take risks. And having a bad cough after a breast augmentation sounds like a miserable situation to me. Good luck!

William Aiello, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews


Breast augmentation is elective surgery, and therefore you should not have the surgery if you have a cough or cold. You should delay your surgery until you are better to avoid any unnecessary risks or complications through having a cold at the time of your surgery. I hope you stay well!

Anthony Barabas, MBBS
Cambridge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Sick prior to breast augmentation

In the event that you get sick prior to surgery, please let your surgeon know. The surgeon may still be able to proceed with the surgery safely, but he or she can better prepare you for the procedure.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Possible cold before surgery?

If a cough or a cold is felt to be from an infection, (e.g. rather than allergic symptoms), then it is important to distinguish between a viral or bacterial type.  If there is reason to believe it is bacterial, or there is uncertainty about its being one or the other, then it is prudent to postpone surgery.  One wants to avoid any contamination and infection of an implant by a blood-borne spread of bacteria.

William Sando, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Re: Cough before surgery

It's important for any surgical procedure that you be in optimal health, particularly for placement of an implant. Your surgeon should be aware of any changes in your health in between your pre-op appointment and surgery. We would never want to jeopardize your surgery or your results by moving forward when the patient is unwell. Surgery would perhaps need to be postponed until full health is regained. 

Brett E. Stompro, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.