For cosmetic surgery candidates who have come to trust alternative medicines as a means to enhance their present lifestyles, the news may come as a bitter pill to swallow. Based on extensive studies, doctors recommend an end to taking such herbs and natural home remedies – even under safe and proper use – at least two weeks before and two weeks after surgical cosmetic procedures.
More than a third of all Americans take some kind of vitamin or herbal supplement. Even though these herbal products, homoeopathic medicines and dietary supplements are considered “natural” and derived from food, they can also be quite potent or even dangerous when combined with anesthesia.
Cosmetic surgeons believe these medicines can put their patients at risk for serious bleeding complications after surgery unless the body is allowed an enough time to clear these substances from your system. This may include an increased risk of hypertension, clotting problems, hypoglycemia, rapid heartbeat or high blood pressure levels.
Most patients don’t think twice about telling their doctors about any prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs they may be taking, certainly when they are preparing for surgery. But, because many people assume that products labeled “natural” must be – naturally – harmless and of no concern, facial surgeons are too often the last to learn of this potentially “hidden nightmare.” What your doctor does not know may wind up hurting you.
Some of the most popular herbs and supplements with potentially dangerous bleeding effects include Chinese peony, garlic, ginger, ginko, ginseng, Oil of wintergreen and Saw palmetto. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Omega 3 products, fish oil, and Advil, Motrin and other medications except Tylenol – acetaminophen medication products also need to be noted. That said, it is important to tell your cosmetic surgeon the types of plant products or vegetables you have been eating in the past month. Be open about teas you have been drinking recently and any herbs or supplements you’ve ever taken in the past.
Honesty Is the Answer
Don’t feel silly or intimidated; this is not about getting lectured. Delaying the use of alternative medicines and supplements prior to cosmetic surgery can be as critical as stopping aspirin and other common drugs. To learn more about pre- and post-operative preparations before cosmetic surgery visit our pre and post-operative instruction section or schedule a consultation with Dr. Hilger.