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Surgery and Supplements

By http://www.epsteinplasticsurgery.com/blog/author/
December 10, 2010

Do you take vitamins and herbal supplements on a regular basis? Although there are both anecdotal and scientific reasons to do so, many herbal supplements can interfere with surgical recovery, from increased bleeding to unwanted anesthesia interactions. By telling your plastic surgeon what you take, he or she can tell you what to avoid prior to cosmetic surgery, and ultimately decrease the risks for potentially dangerous side effects!

Many of today’s miracle drugs (penicillin, digoxin, codeine and many others) were derived from plants. Conversely, many plants that are not used as a source for medicines do have potent biologic activity and can produce problems if taken shortly before or after surgery. Here is just a short list, not all-inclusive, of potential problems that can occur from taking some herbal preparations around the time of surgery:

• Ephedra - Possible complications: heart attack and stroke
• Garlic - Possible complications: bleeding during and immediately following surgery
• Ginkgo - Possible complications: bleeding during and immediately following surgery
• Ginseng - Possible complications: bleeding during and immediately following surgery
• Kava - Possible complications: may increase the sedative effect of anesthesia
• Saint John's Wort - Possible complications: may cause acute rejection of a transplanted organ by interfering with anti-rejection medications; rejection may begin within 24 hours of taking Saint John's Wort
• Valerian - Possible complications: may increase the sedative effect of anesthesia
• Vitamin E - Possible complications: bleeding during and immediately following surgery

It is imperative that you discuss with your surgeon any herbals or over the counter drugs that you are planning to take around the time of your surgery. Furthermore, it is best to stop all herbal medications, supplements and megadoses of vitamins within a few weeks of your surgery. Write a list of any herbal preparations you take along with the medications you regularly take on a piece of paper and keep this list in your wallet.

To your health and beauty,
Dr. Mark Epstein

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