Importance of Discussing Herbal Supplement Usage with Your Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery consultations are beneficial to both patients and plastic surgeons. They provide an opportunity for patients to get to know their surgeon, learn about their prospective procedure, view plastic surgery before and after galleries, and get answers to any questions they may have. Consultations are also important to plastic surgeons because they provide a chance to listen to the patient’s medical history and predict obstacles they may face during surgery in order to reduce risks and complications. Gaining insight into a patient’s medical history includes discussing medications the patient is currently taking to avoid surgical complications or drug interactions.

Herbal SupplementsAs reported in a recent article by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, patients often disclose their prescription and over-the-counter medications, but exclude herbal, homeopathic, and natural supplements. While these supplements are often natural, they can still interact with drugs or cause other surgical complications like excessive bleeding or raised blood pressure. Therefore, plastic surgeons need to know everything a patient is taking to minimize risks.

In order to help physicians keep up with supplements that may increase risk of complications, researchers from Loma Linda University have developed a guide entitled Bleeding Risks of Herbal, Homeopathic and Dietary Supplements: A Hidden Nightmare for Plastic Surgeons. Their mission is to help plastic surgeons educate patients about these risks. According to the guide, the most commonly used herbs and supplements known to increase bleeding include Chinese peony, garlic, ginger, ginko, ginseng, oil of wintergreen, and saw palmetto.

An article published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies explains patient information omission about supplements they are taking is a common problem among all physicians, not just plastic surgeons. The article noted the most commonly used supplements that increase blood pressure include blood root, green tea, hawthorn, and mate. Increased blood pressure can increase cosmetic surgery risks, especially if the patient already has high blood pressure. If you are taking medication or supplements, you may be asked to stop taking it a few weeks before plastic surgery and waiting to take it again until after the surgeon says it’s safe.

The highly skilled surgeons of Atlanta Plastic Surgery suggest patients write down all medication they are taking (prescription, over-the-counter, herbal supplements, and homeopathic or natural remedies) before they come to their consultation so they won’t forget anything. Read our previous blog for other consultation preparation tips so you will know what else to expect. Schedule a consultation today if you are interested in a certain procedure, or visit our website to learn more about the cosmetic and reconstructive procedures our plastic surgeons offer.