Infections can wreak havoc with your body, sending your immune system into overdrive as it tries to stamp out the virus or bacteria responsible for infection. However, while minor infections may be no more than an everyday annoyance, they can become a major concern if a surgery is in your near future.
Surgery is a traumatic event for the body, and it will need all available resources to ensure a speedy and uneventful recovery. An infection can interfere with your body’s ability to recover properly after surgery because your body's resources are stretched thin trying to simultaneously heal from the surgery while also battling the infection. In addition, the presence of an infection in your body may increase the chances of an infection occurring at the surgery site.
Your doctor will likely give you a thorough examination before your surgery date to ensure that your immune system is not in any way compromised. At this time, he will ask about any recent illness and infection. If you have recently had a cold or flu, or you think that you may be coming down with one, it’s imperative to let your doctor know. Depending on how soon the surgery is, your doctor may need to reschedule it. Additionally, blood work may reveal an infection that you did not realize you had. Even though you are symptom-free, your doctor may recommend postponing surgery.
Even if you’re not ill before surgery, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics. This is to kill any minor infections that have not yet resulted in symptoms and make sure that you don’t catch any infections between the time of your exam and the surgery. It’s imperative that you take them as recommended to avoid post-surgical complications.
Surgeries meant to address serious and life-threatening problems can’t always be put off. Thus, doctors have to sometimes weigh the risk of delaying surgery against the risk posed to your recovery by the infection. A minor infection might not result in a postponement or surgery, but a major one might.
When it comes to minor surgeries, including cosmetic procedures and operations that are not immediately necessary, it’s routine to address any present infections before moving forward with surgery. So while you may have been steeling yourself for a procedure, or even looking forward to a new nose or face lift, remember to put your health and safety before the desire to get surgical procedures done.