Recommended Vitamins and Supplements to Be Taken Prior and Post Surgery?

Hi, so there is a lot of information regarding vitamins and sups that are not recommended to be taken prior surgery such as,Vitamin E. Just wondering are there any vitamins or sups out there that can be taken before and after surgery to help reduce healing time and bruising. I am undergoing a rhinoplasty and otoplasty in November. I also take two alfalfa caps daily, is that okay? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 7

Medications and Supplements Before and After Surgery

There are an array of medications and supplements to avoid before surgery. The most essential are those that could cause unnecessary bleeding, such as aspirin-containing products, NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and extra vitamin E, garlic, ginseng, or Ginkgo, which should be discontinued a week or so before surgery.

If you are taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin), you will usually be advised to discontinue this within a certain time before surgery. Your blood counts will be closely monitored and special arrangements made to ensure that your blood won’t clot and cause a problem.

Some herbs, such as Kava Kava and Valerian Root, could potentially interfere with anesthesia, and these too should be stopped at least a week before surgery. And of course, this may be a good time to consider stopping smoking. Many plastic surgeons require their patients to stop a month before surgery. Preparing for surgery does not mean increasing one’s alcohol intake, either. This too can adversely affect the liver and its ability to metabolize anesthesia drugs.

There are, on the other hand, some supplements that are recommended prior to surgery because they have been shown to increase wound healing, build new collagen, and decrease inflammation and swelling. These should be continued postoperatively for another couple of weeks.

Supplements recommended before and after surgery include:
Vitamin A: 10,000–25,000 IU per day, beginning a week before surgery (unless you are pregnant).
Vitamin C: 500–1000 mg per day, beginning at least a week before surgery.
Bromelain: 500–1000 mg per day, beginning a week before surgery.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Pre-surgical use is controversial. Some studies have shown them to be very beneficial in increasing immune function, while others indicate they may increase bleeding.
Arnica Montana: A homeopathic preparation to help with bruising or soreness that can be taken in pellet or tincture form beneath the tongue, right before surgery and again once you’re awake in the recovery room.

Keep in mind that all of this should be discussed in detail with your surgeon.  I offer my patients a supplement healing pack that contains Arnica Montana and Bromelain as part of their surgical healing package.  The pre-op nurses should also go over with you which medications, if any, should be continued on even the day of surgery.

In addition, I offer my patients Platelet Healing Gel.  Platelet-rich plasma is essentially derived by drawing blood from one's arm, spinning it in a centrifuge to spin out all the platelets and healing parts of the blood, concentrating them several hundred times to what they are normally found in the blood and tissues and then injecting it into the areas I am treating. The goal is to help heal the skin more quickly and reduce bruising.

Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Vitamins Before And After The Surgery

Dear Timmy,


It is recommended to eat pineapple and to take Arnica a week before the surgery and then to continue taking it for about a week after the surgery.

As for Vitamins, I recommend that patients eat healthy and take Vitamin C supplements couple of days before the surgery

After all, you should have a full blood test about 10 days to a week before your surgery to make sure that your electrolytes are well in the normal range before proceeding with any surgical procedure.

I hope this helps.

The best of luck to you.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Vitamins and Herbs pre and post surgery

I start my patients on Vitamin C 500mg three times a day starting three days before surgery and patients may start on arnica as directed starting the day before surgery and following surgery to help with bruising and swelling. Patients need to stop most other vitamins and herbal supplements due to excess bleeding. This answer is just in regards to supplements not prescribed medicine or over the counter medications which must be reviewed by your surgeon who will inform you prior to surgery the proper protocol.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 208 reviews

Bromelain before surgery helps swelling and bruising

I have my patients stop all herbal supplements and vitamins preoperatively, however, I encourage them to take Bromelain. This is the enzyme in pineapple that reduces bruising and swelling. I have not seen that Arnica makes much difference, but have been amazed how Bromealin decreased bruising after surgery in patients who were known to be "big 'bruisers!"

Theda C. Kontis, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Helpful Supplements For Cosmetic Surgery

The 2 primary herbs used to help with bruising and swelling are Bromelaine and Arnica. They need to be started prior to your surgery in order to be most effective. Bromelaine is also found in fresh pineapple, so eating a lot of pineapple leading up to your surgery would be helpful as well. Also, remember that the skin needs nourishment in order to heal well. Often you don't feel great right after surgery and therefore are not eating well. Eating a good well balanced diet (especially because you do need to stop taking some of the vitamins that you may normally be taking in order to decrease the risk of bleeding) is very important for the week leading up to, and for several weeks following the surgery. Good luck.

Michael R. Menachof, MD
Greenwood Village Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Vitamins and Supplements to be taken before and after Rhinoplasty

I give my patients a very long list of things to avoid before and after rhinoplasty. There are several supplements that are recommended or given to patients before surgery but these are individualized for each person.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews


Stop Vitamin E one month before surgery.  Multivitamins are fine, but a good healthy diet is the most import issue for you.

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.