Cold and flu season is probably not the ideal time to undergo cosmetic rhinoplasty surgery. The patient may only feel worse as the incisions heal and the nose structures recover from the trauma of surgery. A feeling of congestion and stuffiness is common after rhinoplasty, and this may be intensified with a cold.
While most surgeons agree that developing a cold or the flu won’t impact the results of surgery, patients who have contracted an upper respiratory infection should probably postpone surgery until they’ve fully recovered.
Any plastic surgeon experienced in nasal surgery will more than likely not perform the procedure while the patient is sick with an upper respiratory infection. It’s good common practice that will reduce the risk of complications.
Not a Pleasant Experience
Still, coming down with the cold or the flu, bronchitis, or viral pneumonia isn’t pleasant. The coughing, sneezing, fever and body aches associated with these head and lung illnesses are uncomfortable at best. The sinuses will be congested and the nose will be swollen and red from the constant wiping away of post-nasal drip.
Imagine how much more unpleasant the experience will be if you’re sick AND recovering from rhinoplasty surgery.
The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or recommend a cold or flu medicine to ease the symptoms.
Some Common Sense Practices
If you’re sick with the common cold or flu, your nose will be draining mucus almost nonstop. If you’re recovering from rhinoplasty, never rub or wipe your nose hard with a tissue or handkerchief as this may irritate and inflame the suture lines and wound areas. Instead, gently dab away the nasal drip until the nose is completely dry. Also, gently irrigate the nose with a warm saline solution to reduce the viral load, which will help your symptoms clear up faster.
Doctor Knows Best
Patients waiting in line for cosmetic nose surgery are generally an antsy bunch. The thought of having to put off surgery for a week or longer because of some pesky cold or flu virus can be upsetting to them. Even so, never minimize the severity of your condition with your rhinoplasty surgeon. Let your physician decide whether it is safe to proceed. Your doctor most likely will give the green light if all you have is a simple head cold. But if you’ve developed a more serious upper respiratory infection, don’t blow it and be sure to tell your surgeon right away.
Dr. Philip Miller is a board certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City with offices located at 60 East 56th, Third Floor, New York, N.Y. Call (212) 750-7100 for a personal consultation.