MRSA Prior to Plastic Surgery and Antibiotic Allergies, What Antibiotic Options Are there if I Have a TT?

I was told last summer that I may have had a MRSA infection. It was never cultured or tested, but I was given medications to treat it as if it was one. My question is two parts: Am I still a candidate for a tummy tuck if I have had a MRSA infection in the past? I am allergic to Pennicillian, Zythromax (Z-Pack), Clindamycin and Sulfa Drugs. Are there still antibiotic options for me if I have a tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 16

Prior MRSA and future surgery.

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Thank you for your question. I would think the first question that I would ask is how do you know that you had a Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus infection?  

In answer to your questions-yes,  you would be a candidate for a tummy tuck and yes,  there are other antibiotic  options.  I would ,however, suggest that you obtain an infectious disease consultation to sort this question out before undergoing any surgery. 

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck With Past MRSA Infection

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It is a bit unusual for one to be treated for MRSA without a positive culture.  I agree with Dr. Abramson that you should have a nasal swab culture done.  This does not preclude your undergoing a tummy tuck.  I always give a single injection of antibiotic (typically a Cephalosporin) one hour prior to surgery.  In your case, I would probably use Vancomycin for the antibiotic.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

MRSA and tummy tuck

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Yes, you can still have a tummy tuck if you have had MRSA in the past.

Yes, there are antibiotic options for you if you have a tummy tuck.

Make certain all your doctors know your past history and follow their recommendations for precautions.

A consultation with an infectious disease doctor can provide valuable information on anything you may need to do before, during, and after any future surgery.

I wish you well.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

What is MRSA and does it affect getting a tummy tuck

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MRSA is actually a very common bacteria (at least it is common now).  It is actually not a very aggressive bacteria, its notoriety is more related to its resistance to certain antibiotics.

It sounds like you may or may not have had a MRSA infection.  As such, you would be placed on basic antibiotic prevention.  You really have the same type of risk of infection from surgery as any other patient which is pretty low.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Questionable Past MRSA infection and Tummy Tuck

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It is not clinically documented (by bacterial culture) that you had an MRSA infection, but you still may take precautions.  Schedule a consultation with you internal medicine doctor and ask for recomendations for testing family members, as well as your environment.  If any of these persons test positive they may be treated with anti-staph (MRSA) oinment and referred to an infectious disease specialist.

Prior to surgery you should be given pre-operative antibiotics that the MRSA in your area is sensitive to.  Vancomycin, may be one of these antibiotics, but it is best to have your plastic surgeon check with the infectious disease physician in the town where you will be having the procedure preformed. Resistance to antibiotics effective in treating  MRSA  is on the rise.


Rondi Kathleen Walker, MD
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon

MRSA and Antibiotics Prior To Tummy Tuck Surgery

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Your prior history of alleged MRSA does not preclude you from having a tummy tuck or any other surgery. With this history, however, it would be important to know that you are not an active carrier which could pose a problem  for you after surgery or for other patients in the surgical facility. A nasal swab test is all that you need. There are numerous other antibiotics that could be used for tummy tuck surgery including a very common one that you did not list as an allergy, Kelfex.

Past MRSA Infection and Risks with Tummy Tuck

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There are a few things one can do to minimize the risk of infection after a tummy tuck.

  • If others in your home had MRSA infections, then you need to be sure it is cleared from your surroundings before considering surgery. You may want to discuss this with your primary care doctor.
  • A nasal swab for MRSA may determine if you carry MRSA (many people in the Chicago area do carry it without having any problems) and if so, an antibiotic ointment can be given to clear it from your body.
  • Given your list of antibiotic allergies, I would want to know if these are true allergies or just side effect reactions. This can be discussed with your primary care doctor and you could be evaluated by an immunologist to see of these are really (serious) allergies or not. This would be good to know for the future in case you develop an infection.
  • Finally, discuss with your Board Certified plastic surgeon the protocols in place to decrease the risk of infection after surgery (1 does of antibiotics given within 1 hour of surgery, preventing a drop in body temperature during surgery, the institution's wound infection rate, not shaving the surgical area before surgery, using an alcohol based skin prep)

Infections can develop even if everything is done to minimize them, so if you go ahead with your tummy tuck, be sure to follow up with your surgeon.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

History of possible MRSA

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You can get screened for MRSA (via a nasal swab or a "MRSA probe").  Regardless, unless you have an active infection, you are not contraindicated to undergo the surgery.  Furthermore, I am not convinced you had MRSA in the 1st place without a culture to prove that.  

Tito Vasquez, MD, FACS
Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

MRSA infection and Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

Nothing that you have described should preclude you from having a safe tummy tuck operation. If you are concerned you could see a infectious disease specialists who will do the appropriate cultures/ swabs to test for MR SA colonization. At some point, you should probably also see an allergist to see what antibiotics you are truly allergic to. You may find that you are not truly allergic to many of these  antibiotics ( but have had side effects instead). This may be important information for you to have in the future.

I hope this helps.

MRSA and tummy tuck

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Excellent question. I would certainly want to know if the MRSA had colonized and would require medical clearance from your internist. Antibiotic coverage would be important with preop prophylaxis.

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.