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Monday, April 4

Your Questions Answered: Safety and Timing of Elective Surgery and Covid19 Infection and Vaccinations

Covid19 can affect our cardiorespiratory systems and increase our risk of deep vein thrombosis.   Evidence is emerging around the safety and timing of anaesthesia and surgery for patients who have recently been infected with COVID-19, along with optimum timing of vaccination in relation to surgery timing. 

Patient safety is the number one priority at AR Plastic surgery.  When it comes to elective surgery, Both Dr Cheng and Dr Chauhan follow the recommendations of The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). 

When can I safely undergo MAJOR elective surgery after confirmed covid19 infection?

Major elective surgery should be delayed for a minimum of eight weeks if possible.  Provided the patient has returned to baseline function and is symptom free. Those with ongoing symptoms may benefit from further delay if circumstances allow.

Major elective surgery includes any surgery that requires a general anesthetic e.g. breast reduction, breast augmentation, body lift, tummy tuck or abdominoplasty.

When can I safely undergo MINOR elective surgery after covid19?

Minor elective surgery should be delayed for a minimum of four weeks. Minor surgery includes skin cancer excision and repair under sedation. 

What if I had a severe illness or I still have long covid symptoms?

A physician review is suggested and may include preoperative tests like stress echocardiography, respiratory function tests, immune and clotting status review, and potentially high dependency or critical care in the immediate postoperative period.

When is it safe for my child to have elective surgery following covid19 infection? 

The current recommendation endorsed by Society for Paediatric Anaesthesia  is to defer elective non-urgent surgery on a similar timeframe as other acute respiratory illness.

How long should I delay major elective surgery after covid19 vaccinations?

We encourage all of our patients to be fully or at least partially vaccinated prior to elective surgery.  Current advice is to have a minimum of 2 weeks between covid19 vaccination and major surgery. This is in line with government advice in Australia to ensure optimal immune response and better protection from COVID-19 infection.

After major surgery, when can I have my covid19 vaccination?

It is recommended to wait two weeks following major surgery for COVID-19 vaccination, since post vaccination symptoms such as high temperatures may confuse the clinical picture in the immediate postoperative period.

More information

You can read more information about the timing of elective surgery and vaccinations associated with covid19 here

Dr Eddie Cheng and Dr Ajay Chauhan are both board-certified Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Brisbane, Australia.  Get to know us with us via Instagram and Facebook @arplasticsurgery.




Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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