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Herbal Supplements

Posted by Laurence Weider, MD on August 27, 2013

A recent article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), highlighted the frequent use of Herbal Supplements in patients who have a consultation for facial cosmetic surgery. The article also emphasized the risks of taking herbal supplements before and shortly after cosmetic surgery.

Many potential cosmetic surgery patients do not think of these supplements as medications, and therefore do not list them when asked about medication use. However, many vitamins and herbals supplements, which are not regulated by the FDA, can have significant side effects such as excess bleeding and changes in blood pressure.

In the study, almost fifty percent of patients were taking at least one type of supplement at the time of their consultation. Over seventeen percent of the patients were taking supplements that have been linked to an increased risk of bleeding. Supplements and vitamins that have been linked to increased bleeding risk include bilberry, bromelain, fish oil, flaxseed oil, garlic, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), selenium and vitamin E. Additional commonly used supplements that carry a risk of adverse side effects include echinacea, ephedra (ma huang), ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s wort, valerian, feverfew and ginger.

In my practice in Dallas, I recommend that patients stop using nutritional supplements two week prior to cosmetic surgery. My staff and I ask all patients about their use of vitamins and nutritional supplements during their initial consultation. It is important that patients list all supplements and vitamins that they are taking in order that we can help to ensure a smooth procedure and recovery period.

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Dr. Laurence Weider is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon in Dallas, TX