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Running Nose/Sneezing/Caught Cold Before Surgery
- Do I Need to Delay It?

Suffering from a running nose and wondering if you should postpone your scheduled rhinoplasty? The answer is a most likely yes, the surgery should be postponed. The first thing to do is determine the cause of the running nose. Is it viral, bacterial or an allergic reaction? While it is possible to perform a successful rhinoplasty while the patient has a common viral cold, why complicate the surgery and take the risk? There are many overwhelming medical reasons to reschedule. It is advisable to postpone surgery and resolve the medical problem causing the runny nose.

Surgery should never be performed if a bacterial infection such as bacterial sinusitis or bacterial rhinitis exits. While the common cold is viral, there is always the risk that it could develop into a more serious upper and lower respiratory infection with sinusitis, bronchitis and even pneumonia. In addition, surgery should never be performed if you have the flu. Even if you have a simple viral cold, operating at this time could increase the likelihood of infections and complications.

For example, it makes the anesthesia more complicated. Undergoing anesthesia with upper respiratory congestion could increase your risk of having airway issues such as laryngospasm. Most anesthesiologists will not work on a patient with a significant cold and fever.

Secondly, undergoing rhinoplasty while experiencing upper respiratory illness could complicate the procedure as well as the healing process. A variety of problems could arise such as excessive bleeding, post-operative infection and sinusitis. If you have a cold, most likely you will be inclined to cough, which could increase post-operative chances of bleeding. Cold symptoms create additional swelling and edema and can impact the surgery results as well as the healing process.

Another reason to postpone rhinoplasty if you have a cold is a very practical one – you won’t be able to treat the cold symptoms. For two weeks prior as well as two week post surgery, you must avoid all medications containing aspirin, which includes Advil, Aleve, Excedrin, Bufferine, etc. You should also avoid drinking many types of herbal tea or alcohol (contained in many cough medications) one week prior to surgery. Basically, you won’t be allowed to take any medications that ease cold symptoms.

In general it is best not to proceed with your scheduled rhinoplasty if you have cold-like symptoms or a runny nose. If the symptoms are due to a nasal allergy, discuss treatment with your surgeon prior to surgery. If you have a cold it should resolve itself in a short amount of time. If not, get an accurate diagnosis, you may have sinusitis. Remember, rhinoplasty in most instances is an elective procedure and should be performed under optimum health circumstance. To minimize operative and post operative risks, it is best to undergo surgery when are healthy and feeling at your best.