Natural and herbal supplements may seem like a safe way to improve your health, but patients considering plastic surgery should be wary of the effect of supplements during surgery and recovery. New research by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that about fifty percent of plastic surgery patients take some sort of vitamin or supplement. Products ranging from fish oil to flaxseed to ginkgo can each have a negative impact on the surgical process.
Patients should remember that “natural” doesn’t mean safe and that herbal medicine is unregulated in the United States. Claims on the side of the bottle haven’t been substantiated by the FDA and products do not have to undergo the same rigorous testing as other medicines. That said, patients seeking plastic surgery should consult with their doctors about the supplements they take. During pre-surgery consultations doctors will ask their patients about the medicine they take. Patients should also tell their doctors about the supplements they take, even if they aren’t explicitly asked.
The risk associated with natural supplements vary and can have a particular impact on blood flow and clotting, with internal bleeding being of particular concern. Supplements can also change the way anesthesia operates and cause changes in metabolism that impact the healing process. As a rule of thumb, patients should stop taking supplements a few weeks before their surgery. Still, patients should consult with their doctor about their supplement use as age, gender, family history, health conditions, and health problems can impact the effects of herbal and dietary supplements.