Herbal supplements risky for cosmetic surgery patients

April 18th, 2009

WASHINGTON - ‘Natural’ or ‘herbal’ formulations like ginseng, garlic or ginkgo biloba can have deleterious effects when taken weeks before cosmetic surgery, warns a study.

More than 40 percent of people use herbal supplements in the weeks before such a surgery. The potentially dangerous effects of alternative medicines occur during the operative and immediate postoperative periods.

‘In considering the dizzying array of supplements available, the main concerns of the plastic surgeon are interaction with other medications, cardiovascular effects, alteration of coagulation [bleeding] and sedative effects,’ said David J. Rowe, study co-author at University Hospitals Case Medical Centre.

Unfortunately, as many as 70 percent of patients may not disclose the use of alternative medications to their surgeon, sometimes because they feel these specialists have little knowledge or interest in naturopathic medicine.

Or they feel plastic surgeons may disapprove of such treatments. Some patients simply fail to recognise the relevance of supplement usage to their current medical or surgical care.

Patients need to be aware that full disclosure of all medications - both those that are prescribed and those that are obtained over-the-counter - is extremely important to their health and safety.

They should also understand that inconsistent and unregulated manufacturing standards and lack of regulation for many herbal supplements mean that quality and dosage may vary considerably among products, said a release of University Hospitals.

The authors recommended that patients be provided with a comprehensive list of supplements that must be avoided in the pre operative period to minimize surgical complications.

These findings appeared in the March/April issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

Filed under Americas, News


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