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 43

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. 

Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 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 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

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 193 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

Having a cough or cold right before breast augmentation

I always like to know if my patients that are about to have breast augmentation are "getting a cold" or a sinus infection or upper respiratory infection or whatever.  There are times that I "hear about" symptoms in a patient a week or so before or so if something is "going on", I like to know about it and usually I will prescribe an antibiotic or have then see their doctor to be treated in time before surgery.  I have also had to "make the call" many times on the day of surgery if someone is really not feeling well, coughing quite a bit, having a low grade fever, etc.  In these cases, I always recommend to postpone surgery.  This is not very often, but I believe very important and a "best practices" approach to breast augmentation. Two things about being sick before breast augmentation that are worth mentioning.  One is that any "bacteria" (what we call bacteremia) in your "system" before surgery can theoretically "seed" the breast implant and predispose patients to postoperative infection and even some increased risk of capsular contraction because of this. Secondly, if a patient has a "sore throat" or "upper respiratory infection" before surgery (really of any kind), when the patient undergoes general anesthesia, it can get further into the lungs and predispose the patient toward pneumonia and getting really sick.  I always confer with my anesthesiologist about "coughs" and issues like this in patients when they have this.  I can tell you that the postponing in these cases has never been a problem, and patients have done well and thanked me for having good judgment to delay the elective surgery until they were healed.  

James F. Boynton, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Cold and surgery

It is in your best interest to be healthy prior to any surgical procedure. If you feel as though you are not feeling well prior to your procedure, you should contact your plastic surgeon. In certain cases you may be asked to visit your primary care physician to be evaluated prior to surgery.

Best wishes,

Dr. Ravi Somayazula

Ravi Somayazula, DO
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Healthy before Surgery, Postponing Surgery, Cough and cold before surgery,

Thank you for the question.

You need to be at your optimal health before surgery.  This will help not only the actual surgery but also recovery.  Coughing or sneezing may have many reasons.  Its best to discuss any symptoms with your plastic surgeon.  Your surgery maybe postponed with any illness especially with accompanying fever.

Be sure you choose a surgeon board certified by "The American Board of Plastic Surgery", check the surgeons on-line reviews, before and after photos, credentials, experience, and have a quality consultation.  

You surgeon should be preferably a member of "American Society of Plastic Surgeons" and ideally a member of "American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons" to indicate cosmetic/aesthetic plastic surgery is the main focus of their practice and they have been evaluated to perform high volume and quality, honest aesthetic surgery and adhere to a code of ethics.

All my best,

Payam Jarrah-Nejad, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Cough or cold prior to surgery

As long as you don't have fever or the flu, it is unlikely that your surgery will require cancellation due to a routine cold or cough.  It may, however, make your recovery somewhat more unpleasant.  This is a discussion to be had on a case-by-case basis with both your surgeon and anesthesiologist.  Good luck!

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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

This is an excellent question and one that everyone should be thoughtful about as their surgery date approaches. If you are concerned that you are sick or may be coming down with something before you surgery, do not hesitate to contact your surgeon's office right away. Share your symptoms openly and honestly - no one wants to reschedule and that won't be done unless you are determined to be sick with a bad cough or fever. It is always best to determine this before the day of surgery so the earlier you reach out the better for everyone. 

Richard Zienowicz, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 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

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.