It may surprise you to learn that certain drugs can make surgery more dangerous by increasing bleeding risk, causing anesthesia-related complications, and inhibiting proper healing. Naturally, it’s important to inform your doctor of any medications you’re taking when planning a surgical procedure or treatment plan, in order to prevent serious drug interactions and potentially dangerous side effects.

But what about the usually unmentioned supplements you take every day to stay healthy? Something as insignificant as vitamin E or fish oil couldn’t possibly put you at greater surgical risk, could it?

Unfortunately, research has shown that many types of supplements have the potential to wreak havoc on a patient’s surgery and recovery process.

Which Supplements Cause Issues?

While this is not a comprehensive list of supplements that may cause problems (you should always discuss any supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter drugs with your surgeon), these are some of the most common herbal supplements.

Let’s take a look at the problems they are linked to:

  • Vitamin E: Can increase bleeding.Are Your Daily Vitamins Putting You at Risk for Surgical Complications?
  • Fish Oil: Can increase bleeding.
  • Echinacea: Can interfere with healing or with other medications. Can cause allergic reactions.
  • Gingko Biloba: Can interfere with clotting; increases bleeding risk.
  • Ginseng: Can interfere with clotting and anti-clotting medication; increases bleeding risk.
  • St. John’s Wort: Interferes with other medications.
  • Garlic: Can interfere with clotting; increases bleeding risk.
  • Kava: Can increase the effects of anesthesia.
  • Valerian: Can increase tolerance for anesthesia.
  • Ephedra: Increases risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney stones; drug interference.

The Good News

Though these herbal supplements should not be used before or after surgery, they can be resumed once the healing process is complete. The American Society of Anesthesiologists generally recommends discontinuing herbal supplements two weeks prior to surgery, but be sure to bring up any supplement use during your consultation, as your surgeon will give you additional tips on what to avoid before surgery.

Our Manhattan and Long Island plastic and cosmetic surgeons are conscientious about safety, and offer expert plastic surgery and top-notch care. If you’re interested in surgical procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, fat transfer, or facial cosmetic surgery, contact us to reserve your complimentary consultation.