Anti-Viral Medication Before Laser Surgery

How many days prior laser surgery is it a good idea to take an anti-viral? Do I need to take one if I am only getting laser on my upper chest area?

Doctor Answers 11

1-2 days- but depends on your history.

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I always base antivirals depending on your history and the procedure. 
For full face resurfacing I ALWAYS prescribe anti-virals 24-0 hours prior to surgery, regardless of history. 

To answer your question - it depends on your history and what type of laser is used. Your Specialist should make that call and not you! If you have a history of cold sores, yes it is recommended.


Dr Davin Lim 
Laser and aesthetic dermatologist
BRISBANE, Australia


Begin Antiviral medication 1- 2 days prior to treatment

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Antiviral medications should be started 1-2 days prior to resurfacing treatments.  The medication should be continues until full re-epithelialization or healing has occurred.  Until the skin is fully healed you are still at risk for an outbreak.


Jill Hessler, MD
Palo Alto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Laser surgery and anti-viral medication

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If you have not had cold sores on your chest or your close contacts do not have a history of cold sores, it is not necessary to take an anti-viral medication before a non-ablative laser procedure.  If you have a history of cold sores in any area and are having an ablative procedure, you should start the anti-viral medication 24 hours before your procedure and continue for 7 days.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Laser Surgery

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We usually have them start 24-48 hours before, depending on their location of procedure.  On the face, 48 hours, on the body, 24 hours. Thank you for your question and good luck.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Antiviral therapy may be taken 12 hours before laser surgery

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Antiviral therapy may be taken 12 hours before laser surgery. This is usually done for laser treatments of the face and not the chest.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist

Antivirals prior to laser treatment

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Antiviral treatment is reasonable to consider when there are any treatments near an area which occasionally gets cold sores (e.g. around the lips). If treating the chest, taking an antiviral is NOT necessary.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Anti virals and laser surgery

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For me it depends on the type of procedure: If I am using a fractionated laser and patients don't have a history of cold sores I don't put them on any antivirals. You heal the surface of the skin so quickly with antivirals I don't find it necessary. If you have a history or if I use full ablative treatments I will start them that morning.

Jeffrey Kenkel, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Fractionated laser treatments

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In general for my patients I recommend antiviral medications before a laser facial resurfacing or fractionalted laser procedure, starting 24 hours prior to the procedure.  For a procedure on the chest unless there is a history of prior viral infections in the area or another outstanding medical problem I do not routinely use antiviral medciation.

Paul Carniol, MD
Summit Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Anti-viral medications befoe laser surgery

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If you have a history of  herpes breakouts around the mouth or for that matter if you had chicken pox as a child it is a good idea to take anti-viral medications around your laser treatment to prevent an outbreak. I generally prescribe 1 day before and 5 days after with Zovirax.

Anti-viral and lasers

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This question really depends upon the laser and area treated. In general, if it is a facial ablative laser, I recommend anti-virals to start the day before the procedure.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.