Supplements Before Surgery?

Is it ok to take supplements before liposuction surgery? Everything I take is all natural such as enzymes, colon clear for regular bowel movements, sulphur, HTP-5 and so on. Why or why not?

Doctor Answers 8

Supplements before surgery

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It depends on the supplements that you take.  Some can be beneficial to the healing process.  We often recommend our patients take Arnica to help with bruising and Bromelain to help with swelling.  However, certain supplements can increase bleeding tendencies, even if they are all natural.  I would encourage a discussion with your plastic surgeon as to each supplement you take and get their opinion if they are safe to take or should be stopped prior to surgery.

Katy Plastic Surgeon

Some supplements can cause you to bleed more with liposuction.

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In general is is best to stop all supplements before having surgery.  Some natural supplements can complicate surgery by causing you to bleed more.  

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Supplements prior to surgery

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There are many natural and herbal products on the market that claim various benefits associated with surgery.  First thing that comes to mind is Arnica.  Unfortunately, most of these products are based off of anecdotal evidence.  At the same time some of the natural or herbal medicines can cause adverse events such as clotting or bleeding.  You should review your current medications with your doctor and if in doubt, discontinue all natural or herbal products two weeks prior to surgery.

Supplements prior to surgery

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It is not a good idea to continue with supplements just before surgery. Some may cause bleeding during surgery and some may interfere with anesthetic agents.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Supplements prior to surgery- They can be dangerous

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When in doubt do NOT take supplements prior to liposuction or surgery in general It can cause bleeding. Let your surgeon know all of the supplements you take and he/she will guide you as to which are safe For example, Omega 3 fats (e.g. fish oil, EFA, flax seed oil, Krill oil), NSAID's (aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn), Vitamin E, "blood thinners"  and a whole host of supplements and medicines can cause excessive bleeding and bruising and therefore increase your recovery time. When in doubt stay away from supplements unless they are designed for surgery. I  offer to my patients specific supplements that speed healing, reduce swelling, bruising and in some cases minimize discomfort (for example Bromelain,  Arnica Montanum, and Vitamins designed for surgery.These are available through our office so if you are having problems finding them give us a call .

Bottom Line: Certain vitamins and minerals can speed healing others can cause problems and slow the process down or cause complications. If healing is going well I usually let my patients go back to their usual regimen of supplements

Below is a partial list that I hand out to my patients listing medications and supplements that can cause bleeding:


Pacific Center For Plastic Surgery
Larry S. Nichter, M.D., F.A.C.S.                     
Medications Which Increase Bleeding
This is not a complete list.  Please check with your pharmacist you have any questions.
Advil Darvon with A.S.A. Motrin
Aggrenox Darvon N with A.S.A. Nalfon
Aleve Daypro Naprosyn
Alka Seltzer Decongestant Tablets Naproxen
Alka Seltzer Plus Antacid Diet Medications Norgesic
Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine Dolobid Norgesic Forte
Alka Seltzer Plus Pain Reliever Dristan Decongestant Tabs & Caps Norwich Aspirin & Extra Strength
Anacin Duradyne Nuprin
Anaprox Easprin Orudis
Ansaid Ecotrin Tabs & Caps Pabirin Buffered Tablets
Anthrotec Empirin Pacaps
A.P.C Tablets Empirin with Codeine PAC Revised Formula
A.P.C. Tablets with Butalbital Emprazil Pamprin
A.P.C. Tablets with Codeine Emprazil-C Tabs En Tab Panalgesic
Arthritis Pain Formula Equagesic Percodan
Arthritis Strength Bufferin Equazine-M Percodan Demi Tablets
Ascriptin Excedrin Persantine - dipyridamole
Ascriptin A/D Extra Strength Bufferin Persistin
Ascriptin with Codeine Feldene Phen-Fen
Aspergum Fiornal Plaquenil - Hydroxychloroquine
Aspirin Suppositories/Uniserts Fiornal with Codeine Plavix
Aspirin Tablets Fiorgen Pletal
Aspirin with Codeine Fortabs Ponstel
Atromid-S Clofibrate Four Way Cold Tablets Propoxyphene Compound 65
Axotal Gelpirin Pulvules
Azdone Gemnisyn Quiet World Analgesic
Bayer Aspirin Genacote Relafen
Bayer Children’s Chewable Tablets Genprin Robaxisal Tablets
Bayer Timed Release Aspirin Gensan Sine Off
BC Cold Powder Geocillin - Carbenicillin SK-65 Compound Capsules
BC Powder Goody’s Headache Powder Sloprin
BC Powder Arthritis Goody’s Extra Strength Tablets Soma Compound
Buff A Compound Tablets Halfprin St. Joseph’s Cold Tablets
Bufferin & Tri-Buffered Bufferin Ibuprofen St. Joseph’s for Children
Buffered Aspirin Idenal Supac
Buffex Indocin Synalgos
Butalbital Compound Isollyl Improved Coricidin Synalgos DC Capsules
Cama Inlay Tablets Lodine Talwin Compound
Cama Arthritis Tablets Lortab A.S.A. Therapy Bayer
Cataflam Magnaprin Ticlid
Cetased Improved Magnaprin Arthritis Strength Caplets Tolectin
Clinoril Meclofenamate Toradol
Codoxy Medilets Tablets for Children Trigesic
Congespirin Mepro-Analgesic Triaminicin
Cope Mepriobamate Compound Ursinus Inlay Tablets
Coricidin “D” Micrainin Vanquish Caplets
Corcidin Demilets Midol Verin
Cordicidin Tablets Momentum Muscular Backache Formula Viro-Med Tablets
Coumadin Maxipirin Vitamin E
Damason P Mobic Voltaren
Darvon Compound 65 Monacet Zorpin
HERBALS SUCH AS: Feverfew, Garlic, Ginger, Ginko Biloba, Ginseng, Siberian, St. John’s Wort, Evening Primrose Oil, Kava Kava, Licorice, Ma Huang, Valerian

If you must take something for relief of headache, menstrual cramps, backache, etc., please take TYLENOL (follow directions) for the two weeks before and after your surgery.


Dietary supplements and plastic surgery

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It is best to get your surgeon's specific instructions for what to take and what not to take before and after surgery. I tell my patients to stop all supplements other than a multivitamin 2 weeks pre-op and for another 2 weeks after. Many of these products can affect blood clotting and your body's reaction to anesthesia, potentially causing deadly complications. In addition, they are not controlled by the FDA , so production standards are uncertain at best. Lastly, the science behind their use is not clear. 

Supplements before Surgery?

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Thank you for the question.

Your plastic surgeon will advise you ( usually during a pre-operative visit)  about "do and don'ts" prior to surgery. It will be in your best interests to advise him/her exactly what “supplements” you are taking.

Best wishes.

No supplements before surgery

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Supplements are not FDA regulated. Many affect anesthesia and bleeding. Therefore, it is wise to refrain from their use both before and after surgery.

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.