Schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas

Plastic Surgery & Herbal Supplements Don’t Mix


Plastic Surgery & Herbal SupplementsThe July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which is the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), has a cautionary note for the health-conscious amongst you – plastic surgery and herbal medication is not a good mix. In fact, when consulting with surgeons about the ways in which purely herbal medication affects the body, they were adamant that you should stop taking such medication at least 2 weeks before any planned surgery.


What’s interesting to note is that the most likely candidates for plastic surgery may also be the most likely to be taking herbal supplements. Take older people, for example (both men and women), who often supplement their regular diets with herbal medications, many of which may cause side effects that can be detrimental during surgery.


The study published in the journal found that of 200 patients, 35 were taking supplements that were considered to carry a risk. On average, the patients were taking 3 separate supplements, including multivitamins that can have a long list of active ingredients that may, or may not, be familiar to you.


The advice – talk with your surgeon about all the various multivitamins and supplements that you may be taking. Even seemingly innocuous ones (like bilberry, flax and fish oil supplements) can prevent proper blood clotting during surgery and increase bleeding.


On the other hand, taking supplements in the belief that they will help the recovery time (for example, supplements that boost the immune system) may actually extend the recovery time. Your surgeon will likely prescribe some medication to help you through this period, and it may well react with supplements you plan on taking. This may even be the case for some non-invasive procedures that lead to slight bleeding, such as dermabrasion or chemical peels.


Luckily, the effects of taking additional vitamins and minerals aren’t permanent, and it is enough to stop taking supplements before surgery to prevent unwanted side effects. Even herbal meds that are marked as ‘safe’, ‘tested’ or even ‘approved’ by a responsible body can have side effects that make surgery more risky, or interfere with your surgeon’s recovery plan.


In any event, it’s better to be cautious and let your surgeon know during initial consultations if you are taking any supplements as part of your general medical history.


To learn more about any aspect of cosmetic and plastic surgery, including facelifts and noninvasive cosmetic surgery procedures, contact Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery of Houston, Texas, at (281) 484-0088.