Your doctor may prescribe a short-term cortisone treatment during and after a surgery. This is in order to minimize nausea/vomiting and post-operative pain.

This specific type of short-term treatment does not lead to an increased risk of infection nor does it alter the progress/quality of healing.

However, because of the increased risk of infection and poor healing observed in patients that have undergone long-term cortisone treatment, non-vital surgeries are often not performed while the corticosteroid therapy is ongoing. Rather, the procedure is often pushed forward to when the treatment has been discontinued.

In cases of emergency surgery, patients receiving long-term corticosteroid therapy should continue taking their prescribed doses. Under certain conditions, the anaesthesiologist may even need to temporarily increase the cortisone dose.

Good to know
  • Before surgery, notify the anaesthesiologist that you are taking cortisone.
  • If you have undergone long-term corticotherapy in the past, let your anaesthetist and surgeon know (even if you have stopped taking cortisone for several months).
Useful references
  • Afman CE et al. Steroids for post-tonsillectomy pain reduction: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006
  • Feo CV et al. Randomized clinical trial of the effect of preoperative dexamethasone on nausea and vomiting after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Br J Surg. 2006