Can You Use Decongestants Before Surgery?

I had to postpone my MM it was jan 14th because I had a bad cold and its rescheduled this wed the 23rd, I went to my primary and they gave me amoxicillin and she told me to use mucinex D. Is there an issue of using it before surgery? I left a message with my PS and his nurse called me back and said decongestants were okay but I see some women on here say they were told not to take it..just wondering why? A little freaked the anesthesiologist will tell me I have to reschedule again. Last dose sat

Doctor Answers 14


  • I do not see a problem with using decongestants
  • We do not have patients discontinue decongestant use prior to surgery
  • If your blood pressure happens to be elevated slightly, the anesthesiologist can easily manage that

Wichita Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Mommy Makeover and Decongestant

  If your last dose was Saturday, you will probably not be rescheduled.  The pseudoephedrine (decongestant d part of mucinex-d) can raise blood pressure, but this should be out of your system by Wednesday. Just let your surgeon and anesthesiologist know.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Are decongestant OK before surgery?

For most patients it is acceptable to take nasal decongestants before surgery.  When patients have an operation such as a tummy tuck, I would prefer that they avoid decongestant medications for the first week following surgery.  Decongestants might impede healing by temporarily diminishing blood flow to the skin. After one week following surgery, decongestants are unlikely to have a negative impact on healing.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Talk to your Plastic Surgeon about Medication Use

Prescription and over the counter #medication use are not a matters that  surgeons or physicians than your own can advise on, without seeing you in-person or knowing your #medical history and surgical details. Therefore, its best to ask your surgeon this and about any additional medication use you have concerns about.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Decongestant Usage & Surgery

It’s not unusual for patients to use decongestants when they develop upper respiratory infections. In the vast majority of preoperative patients this doesn’t represent a problem. Unfortunately some decongestants can cause significant elevations in blood pressure. This type of decongestant should be stopped well in advance of cosmetic surgery.

More important than decongestant use is the upper respiratory infection itself. If this problem isn’t adequately treated, the potential for complications is significantly increased. These infections can lead to airway spasm and pneumonia.

For these reasons, upper respiratory infections and the use of decongestants should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery. Safety should be everyone’s first priority and surgery should be postponed if patients haven’t fully recovered from upper respiratory infections. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Over the counter cold medication prior to surgery - ones to avoid

The only over the counter cold medications to avoid prior to surgery are ones like sudafed which can effect your blood pressure or heart rate during surgery.  If you have any questions about what to take call first.  Better safe than sorry.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Timing for your surgery

I would make sure you are free of any cold symptoms before option for your MM surgery.  This is elective surgery and there is no need to increase your anesthesia risks.   Please talk to your PS and PCP to make sure you are OK to proceed with your surgery in the 23rd.  Best of luck.

Dr. Basu

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 212 reviews


As long as you are not having any direct airway issues such as wheezing then you are OK. But remember this is elective surgery. It can always be rescheduled

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Decongestants and elective surgery

Use of the decongestant would not be a strong indication for postponing your surgery. It really depends on your other symptoms and the type of anesthesia that you will be having. I use a deep sedation anesthesia for my mommy makeover surgeries instead of genereal anesthesia. There are many benefits to this type of anesthesia, but it does require the airway to be almost completely normal. If your congestion symptoms are signficant, then I would probably delay surgery. But if your symptoms are really mild or you are using a more protected airway type of anesthesia, then you should be fine.

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Modest congestion on the tail and of a cold generally is not a contraindication to surgery.

Elective surgery, which all cosmetic surgery is, should be performed with the patient is healthy and not suffering from other conditions. Modest congestion after a cold is usually not a problem for elective mommy makeover. However, it is left to the judgment of the surgeon and anesthesiologist.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 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.