Risk of Having a Rhinoplasty with a Cold?

I've had a cold for a few weeks now and I can't get rid of it (tried inhalations, salted water, etc but still there). My Rhinoplasty had already been postponed 3 times because of it and I'm supposed to go tomorrow but I still have a very small amount of mucus coming out of my nose, should I take a risk?

It is really small, I can actually breathe well from both nostrils and I don't have to blow my nose more than 2 times a day. I hope the thyme oil inhalations and salted water are ok before op?

Doctor Answers 12

Diagnosis before treatment.

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It's important to establish the diagnosis first. If it's sinusitis, a simple flexible endoscopic exam in the office (ideally by someone with an ear, nose, and throat training) can help confirm the diagnosis as well as monitor its resolution.

Given the elective nature of rhinoplasty, it's really ideal to minimize avoidable risks by making sure you're happy and healthy pre-op. That's the only way to enhance the chances of being happy and healthy post-op.

All the best,


Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Ethical surgeons won't perform a nose job when infection may be present

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Your basic viral cold does NOT last "weeks" - it lasts days. In my opinion you have another process going on that needs to be looked at BEFORE complicating matters with a surgery.

I seriously doubt that an ethical Plastic / ENT surgeon would operate on your nose with a possibility of a bacterial infection of the nose or adjacent sinuses is a real possibility.

I would postpone the operation and focus on fixing this problem before scheduling another date for the rhinoplasty.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Undergoing rhinoplasty with a cold should be decided by your surgeon

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A routine head cold should not prevent a patient from undergoing a rhinoplasty surgery. It is probably best not to have the procedure performed if you have the flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia. A simple head cold will not preclude from undergoing a rhinoplasty procedure.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Avoid Rhinoplasty when upper respiratory illness is present

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Rhinoplasty should be avoided in the presence of an upper respiratory illness. Complicating circumstances may develop including excessive bleeding, infection, sinusitis. Rhinoplasty is elective cosmetic surgery and should be performed under optimum health circumstances.

Over the years, I have experienced occasional cases where a patient would develop a cold (upper respiratory illness) one to two days postoperatively. Obviously, this viral respiratory illness was in the making at the time of surgery unbeknownst to me. Although I did not experience resulting complications, I would not recommend performing nasal surgery in the presence of a known respiratory illness.

Rhinoplasty surgery with a cold

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If you are still symptomatic, you should have a work up before surgery to be sure that you do not have a sinus infection or other illness. If it is simply a cold, it should resolve itself in a short time frame, but a sinus infection can linger. Having surgery when you are sick can prolong the illness, the recovery, and can also put you at risk of getting even more sick due to a compromised immune status from the stress of surgery on top of your illness. You should see your doctor and have him or her examine you and advise.

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Persistent infection may compromise Rhinoplasty healing

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Why take any chances? A persistent infection may prolong and compromise healing after your surgery. The ultimate decision will rest in the hands of your physicians. Although it may be inconvenient, I would advise delaying this elective procedure.  

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Postpone Rhinoplasty if there are 2-3 weeks of cold symptoms

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2-3 weeks of cold symptoms is probably indicative of a sinus infection unless proven otherwise. I would recommend postponing the surgery, and discussing this further with your surgeon. It may be that your primary care doctor or an ENT doctor may be able to help you get over this problem and steer you into clear waters before giving you the clearance to proceed safely with your rhinoplasty.

In any event, you definitely do not want to proceed in the setting of a bacterial sinus infection or risk a postoperative nasal infection that can hamper your healing and disrupt your result!

Randolph Capone, MD, FACS
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Rhinoplasty with a cold

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If you still have any symptoms from your cold, I would put off the surgery. The additional swelling and edema can affect the surgery results, but more importantly affect your airway  which could impact your breathing.

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

Rhinoplasty Risks with Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

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Hi Icap,

Sounds like you are ready for your surgery given the amount of time since the beginning of your "cold". Have your physician make sure that you do not have a bacterial sinus infection, and take a prophylactic antibiotic. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist can make the decision for you based on your physical exam.

Enjoy your new nose.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Let the surgeon doing the surgery decide

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Usually, if the problem is clear mucus after this much time there should be no problem. However, if you have green or yellow mucus, then I would postpone the surgery.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 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.