Meds Before Surgery. Disclosing Your Herbal Supplements

Meds Before Surgery
Meds Before Surgery

Article Highlights

  • The importance of being thorough with your plastic surgeon is essential, especially when your herbal supplements may cause you more harm than good
  • When reviewing patients’ preoperative medication, it was discovered that 49 per cent were using at least one type of supplement
  • The surgical problems associated with taking herbal supplements and vitamins have involved a very high risk of bleeding

The Importance About Being Honest About Your Herbal Supplements

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the most common and popular choices are generally considered sound options to sustain well-being: eating organic produce, regular exercise and natural skincare, and herbal supplements to complement diets.

However, one of the most unknown and even mysterious dilemmas with herbal supplements are the issues they can cause prior to plastic surgery—something both you and your doctor should know.


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The importance of being thorough with your plastic surgeon is essential, especially when your herbal supplements may cause you more harm than good.

A recent study in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), featured an examination of 200 patients undergoing cosmetic facial surgery; 80 per cent of the patients were women approximately 45 years old. When reviewing patients’ preoperative medication, it was discovered that 49 per cent were using at least one type of supplement.

Despite the apparent innocence represented in the words “herbal” or “natural”, the side-effects can be distressing.

It is strongly recommended that patients stop taking supplements and common vitamins, such as fish oils and omega-3, multivitamins and vitamins D and B, two to three weeks before surgery and be very clear with your surgeon. This also includes some common medications such as a Baby Aspirin or Advil Pain Killers.


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The surgical problems associated with taking herbal supplements and vitamins have involved a very high risk of bleeding. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) have documented that unpredictable interactions may occur with medications and anesthesia, and supplements on their own may interfere with the normal mechanism for blood clotting, causing bleeding that is prolonged or difficult to control.

Melatonin, as identified by the ASAPS, is used to induce sleep, and it can compound the effect of the administered anesthesia. The ASAPS also cites that echinacea, used to stimulate the immune system, can cause liver damage and blood pressure abnormalities when used with general anesthesia.

Any and all precautions and coverage provided by a board-certified plastic surgeon are essential and should be taken very seriously. In addition to the risks of herbal supplements, it is crucial that you are honest about your intake when taking other medications. Your health is the highest priority for plastic surgeons, so providing detailed information is vital to avoiding any risks or complications. Make sure to disclose all drugs, alternative medicines, herbal medications and supplements you take or have taken recently. If unsure, stop all non-prescription drugs and supplements two weeks prior to your surgery (prescription medication should be reviewed with your surgeon).



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One Response to "Meds Before Surgery. Disclosing Your Herbal Supplements"

  1. Dr. Laura Belus, ND   December 11, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    It is vitally important that all surgical patients be open and honest with their medical team prior to any procedure. Most adults today are taking several natural supplements while only a fraction disclose this to their doctor prior to a minor procedure. The reality is there are a multitude of natural supplements that have the potential to negatively impact the outcome and can slow healing or cause complications. Commonly consumed items such as fish oil, certain vitamins, and herbal formulations for detoxification and weight loss can seriously harm a patient’s treatment outcomes when they undergo a procedure involving anesthesia, injectable fillers or other in-office therapeutics.

    Many people may feel as though some non-pharmaceuticals (vitamins, herbs, etc.) are safe simply because they aren’t drugs: this is far from the truth. Some supplements have the potential to act as strongly as some prescription medications. Therefore, clients need to disclose all natural therapies with their doctor prior to a procedure. By doing this, both doctor and patient can feel assured that the intended outcome will result. This transparency between doctor and patient promotes a strong rapport and the development of a trusting relationship for future treatment with the desired results.

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