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 16


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  • 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

Mommy Makeover and Decongestant

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  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.

Beware of the D

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Any medication with pseudifed in it could have detrimental effects on blood supply and healing with a MM. This medication causes vasoconstriction which slows blood flow to tissues that are tight or stretched as in TT and mastopexy. I've seen this in several patients that thought it wasn't important to mention pre-op and ended up with tissue loss, etc

Mark H. Leech, MD
Chattanooga Plastic Surgeon

Decongestants before surgery

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Thank you for the question! The use of decongestants before surgery should pose a significant problem. It's true that this medication may slightly increase your blood pressure, but this side effect should be gone by Wednesday. Make sure to tell your surgeon that you've been using mucinex-d prior to surgery. 

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon would be the best way to assess your needs and guarantee a reliable medical advice. Best of luck!  

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Are decongestant OK before surgery?

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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
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Talk to your Plastic Surgeon about Medication Use

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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 116 reviews

Decongestant Usage & Surgery

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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. 

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

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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 20 reviews

Timing for your surgery

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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


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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

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.