ZocdocAnswersShould one have surgery on a cold?

Question

Should one have surgery on a cold?

Is there ever a good reason to have surgery for a cold? A friend's ex-girlfriend had a cold for a really, really long time, and finally got surgery on her sinus cavity. But even for the worst cold, that seems like an insane response. How could surgery ever be justified?

Answer

What you are calling a 'cold' is really just a set of symptoms - cough, nasal congestion, and the like. There are many causes for these symptoms in addition to the common cold. Based on the story you are telling it is almost certain that what your friend actually had was chronic sinusitis. This is an infection and inflammation of small spaces within the skull that connect to the nasal passages. Although these are often treated conservatively at first with nasal sprays and antibiotics, sometimes the sinuses can become so scarred and clogged off that it requires a surgical procedure to go in and open up the passages again to allow drainage to be reestablished. After having surgery, most people's sinus symptoms improved dramatically. As always the diagnosis and the management of any particular concern requires a physical examination by a personal physician. If you friend has any lingering questions, she should speak with her primary care doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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