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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



Why am I being prescribed antibiotics before cosmetic surgery?

May 29, 2014, 3:54 am

antibiotics before cosmetic surgery

Several weeks ago, Kansas City Surgical Arts featured a fun little comic on their Facebook page that was used as a starting point for talking about antibiotics. Most of us only think about antibiotics when we are sick and our doctor prescribes them to help us get better, but did you know that antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent illness in the first place? Antibiotics before surgery can help reduce the risk of infection in certain patients. Since safety is of the utmost concern when it comes to any cosmetic or other surgical procedure, read on to learn more about the importance of a proper antibiotic regimen before cosmetic surgery.

While cosmetic surgery is safe in the United States, certain procedures carry higher risks of infection simply because of the way the human body is designed. Particular procedures that involve the nose such as rhinoplasty, and those that involve the mouth or oral cavity such as dental reconstruction can put the patient at higher risk for bacterial infection. The nose and mouth contain what surgeons call “native bacterial flora” — which are types of good and bad bacteria that naturally occur in our noses and mouths.

During any type of surgical procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, the balance of good and bad bacteria can be tipped due to the stress that surgery places on the body. Additionally, our body’s own bacteria may migrate to nearby areas during a procedure, regardless of perfect surgical conditions. By taking prophylactic, or preventative, antibiotics, infections can be prevented before they even have a chance at taking root. During your consultation, Dr. Hlavacek will discuss the benefits and risks of your procedure and will make recommendations for antibiotics based on your particular needs. Because every patient is unique, your surgical plan from start to finish, including possible antibiotics, will be tailored to your individual needs to minimize risks and increase satisfaction.

During your consultation with Dr. Hlavacek, you will discuss not only your surgical goals and choices, but also important information such as your health history, medications, and current medical conditions. Inform Dr. Hlavacek of any medication allergies so he can use this information to determine whether prophylactic antibiotics are right for you. If he determines that you would benefit from a course of antibiotics prior to or after surgery, he will prescribe the antibiotic that will best meet your needs.

As suggested by the comic on Facebook, it is important to take the entire course of your antibiotics as directed, even if you feel perfectly fine. Antibiotics are most effective when taken appropriately, and the duration and specific number of doses will vary depending on the particular medication that Dr. Hlavacek selects for you. It is also important to take your antibiotics as directed — as doing otherwise can reduce the protective nature of these medications and could lead to complications with your surgery. Ending an antibiotic regimen early can kill off all but the strong bacteria, which can then thrive and make antibiotic treatment in the future less effective. So taking antibiotics as prescribed will not only reduce complications with surgery now, but will help them work effectively in the future. A lot of people have heard of “super bugs” or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but don’t understand how they may contribute to that problem by not taking their full regimen of pills.

If you have been considering cosmetic surgery or oral-maxillofacial surgery, including dental implants, and would like to learn more about your options, call Kansas City Surgical Arts today at (816) 286-4126 to schedule your consultation. Dr. Hlavacek and his team at Kansas City Surgical Arts are here to partner with you through every step of your procedure and beyond.