Herbal supplements and bleeding in Plastic Surgery
If you’ve ever had a cosmetic surgery consult with me, and I hope you have or will, you will see that I walk my patients through what I call “a pretend day of surgery.” Each of my procedure-related talks starts out with telling patients to be sure to avoid aspirin, Ibuprofen and herbal supplements at least 2-3 weeks before their surgery.
Well, the aspirin and the Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) are pretty easy to remember, but many people forget about the herbal supplements, some of which are regular food products. Many are sold in health food stores and many are potent blood thinners. Plastic surgery patients just don’t know that. Because herbal remedies and supplements are not regulated by the FDA, the manufacturers do not have to study or list the side effects.
What’s the biggest side effect? -bleeding. Many supplements thin the blood which can increase blood loss and increase the risk of complications such as hematoma (collections of blood).
According to a recent review, some of the most popular herbs and supplements with potentially dangerous effects include:
Oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate)
Palmetto (Serenoa repens, Salbalserrulata)
Add to this list weight loss drugs which can dramatically affect blood pressure as well.
So what should you do to be safe? I always recommend a normal, healthy and balanced diet for at least the 3 weeks before surgery. Don’t overdo any one food group. Avoid known supplements. Take a one a day vitamin without additional herbs (sometimes they come with the vitamin). Go over all medications with your doctor, including herbs, teas and diet pills. When in doubt about something you want to take, just ask us.
If you are interested in a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure contact any one of my three Washington, DC area offices for a consultation.