While cold and flu season is one of winter’s unpleasantries, falling ill right before or soon after your plastic surgery procedure may require additional care and attention.
1. Respect Your Recovery Time
Any surgical procedure requires your immune system for healing. Surgery increases the body’s metabolic demands, which can weaken your immune system’s defenses and increase your chance of becoming sick. This is why your recovery period is so important. Adequate rest, hydration and minimizing strenuous activity will reduce your risk of infection and help prevent you from catching a bug after your plastic surgery procedure.
2. Keep Your Sinuses Moist
Becoming sick with a cold or flu after facial surgery, especially rhinoplasty, can cause obvious complications with nasal congestion and sinus pressure. If you do become sick after a rhinoplasty or septoplasty, it is important to use the nasal rinse, given to you at your pre-operative appointment, in order to keep the nasal passages clear and moist to make breathing easier. Using a humidifier (whether you are sick or not) is also beneficial after nose surgery to help with breathing and preventing nasal blockage.
3. Take Your Vitamins and Get Plenty of Protein
We recommend a high protein, balanced diet and vitamin supplements. This is most important for the 2-4 weeks before your plastic surgery and for several weeks afterward:
- Take a daily multivitamin with iron
- Get plenty of protein — up to ½ to 1 gram of protein per day for each pound of body weight for body contouring or combined surgeries (for example, a 150 pound woman should consume between 75 and 150 grams of protein per day).
- Don’t lose weight. This may seem strange, but it makes sense when you understand that the body cannot be fully optimized for wound healing when you are actively losing weight.
4. Pay Attention to Medications
Taking cold medicine before or after plastic surgery is not a problem, but its very important to pay attention to the active ingredients.
Here’s a list of the most common medications that may cause problems with bleeding:
- Medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen
- Fish oil supplements or Vitamin E supplements (more than 200 IU per day)
Information on safe medications to take before and after your plastic surgery can be found in your pre-operative handbook provided during your pre-operative appointment. We encourage all patients and their caregivers to read the handbook thoroughly and to use it as a convenient reference for any questions following surgery.
5. Share Your Symptoms with Your Plastic Surgeon and Nurses
Patients are often concerned about undergoing plastic surgery if they are already sick. Fortunately, having a cold or a viral infection before or after surgery does not increase your risk of surgical site infection, nor does it increase your risk of capsular contracture after breast augmentation surgery. Be sure to alert the nursing staff of your symptoms when you arrive on the day of your plastic surgery, as additional antibiotics may be administered through your IV during surgery.
If you are worried about how a cold or flu may affect your scheduled plastic surgery don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon. Do you have a question about how a specific remedy will affect your procedure? Ask us!