Can I Have Back Surgery If I Am Sick?

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Medication Back Pain

Millions of people catch the common cold every year. A cold may force you to work from home for a few days or take care of a sick kid when they come home from school with a runny nose, but coming down with a sickness can also affect the viability of your upcoming spine surgery. Will a common cold prevent you from being able to undergo a surgical procedure? We take a closer look at how a sickness could impact your ability to have your planned surgery.

Sickness And Surgery

As you might imagine, the most important thing that you can do if you are feeling sick or under the weather in the lead up to your operation is to have a conversion with your spine specialist or your care team. In general, a minor sickness will not exclude you from undergoing your surgery, but a number of different factors will play into this decision. For example, if your sickness may be the result of something that surgery would address, your surgeon may move forward with a procedure. Conversely, if you get sick and have other health issues like diabetes or are obese, your surgeon may opt to postpone an elective operation until you are feeling healthy, as all those collective factors could unnecessarily complicate your outcome.

We understand that you likely want to undergo your spine surgery, and we also understand that you don’t want to jeopardize the possibility of this surgery by letting your doctor know that you’re not feeling the greatest. However, you need to prioritize your health and at least let your care team know about your headache or flu-like symptoms. Not only are you possibly exposing your care team to a contagious virus, but you need to remember that surgery is a major trauma on your body. Surgery is going to elicit an immune response from your body, and if it’s already working to quell an infection, it can be spread too thin. Again, it’s likely that you can have your surgery if you have minor symptoms, but you need to bring these up to your physician so that an informed decision can be made.

There’s also the possibility that any medications taken to help with your illness may interfere with the anesthesia or the medications that your surgeon will prescribe after surgery. It’s imperative that you wean off medications as recommended by your surgeon before your operation, and that you let them know about any new medications you are taking to combat an illness. Transparency is the name of the game when it comes to a pre-surgical check.

At the end of the day, going through with an operation while you are battling a virus or infection can increase your risk of adverse outcomes, but that doesn’t always mean that your surgery will be canceled or rescheduled. The sooner you let your care team know about your symptoms, the better they’ll be able to plan for the situation and make the right decision for your health.

For more information, or to talk to a spine specialist about finding a treatment plan to overcome your back discomfort, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at the Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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