Taking Vitamins Before Cosmetic Surgery

Several websites state there are vitamins you need to stay away from before surgery. However, none of the sites identify which ones shouldn't be taken and why. Are there vitamins that shouldn't be taken? Why?

Doctor Answers 7

Vitamins: What to Avoid Can Be As Important As What To Take. Here's Your List.

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More people take some sort of multi-vitamin or herbal supplement but very few think to disclose their vitamins to their doctor and anesthesiologist prior to their surgery. After all, they're just vitamins, they don't count as a medication right? Wrong!

You are smart to ask this question because so many people don't think about it. Herbs, and products that contain them, are packaged as nutritional supplements and will not provide warnings, dosage information or suggested usage instructions. As a result, many people incorrectly assume that a "natural" medicines are inherently safer than a pharmaceutical drug.

This is not only untrue; it's an assumption that can be dangerous if a person is facing any surgery, whether it's plastic surgery or not. Many people planning plastic surgery surgery fail to disclose their herbal supplement use out of fear of being ridiculed by their doctor. (Who would think that licorice could be dangerous?)The fact is, your surgeon needs to know what you are taking to ensure your safe recovery.

Below is a list of some commonly taken supplements that can interfere with your plastic surgery. How? Some cause post-surgical bleeding, worsen Inflammation, raise blood pressure or alter your sugar levels.

Herbs and Vitamins That Can Interfere with Plastic Surgery (and all other surgeries too!):

* Any Diet Pills or herb blends designed to control appetite
* Aspirin, Motrin, Advil or other blood thinners
* Vitamin E
* Chromium
* Garlic
* Ginger
* Ginkgo
* Goldenseal
* Flaxseed
* Fish oil
* Echinacea
* Licorice
* Saw Palmetto
* Ephedra
* Ginseng
* Feverfew
* Kava-Kava
* St. John's Wort
* Valerian Root

The best advice is to quit all herbal supplements three weeks prior to your plastic surgery procedure. If in doubt, don't take it.

There are some recommended vitamins for plastic surgery as well as some herbal supplements that can aid post-surgical healing and reduce bruising. This is what we prescribe.

Start three weeks before your procedure:

* Multi vitamins- We have some in our store specifically designed for patients pre- and post-surgery that contain everything you need and none of what you don't.

* Arnica or Bromelain, depending on the procedure, to help minimize bruising, swelling, muscle aches and soreness.

* Body lift patients require more nutritional support before their surgery. We start all of our body lift patients on ProCare powder supplement to address nutritional deficiencies after gastric bypass surgery.

Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Avoid Vitamin E prior to Surgery - may lead to increased bleeding

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There is an ever increasing amount of confusing information on the Internet. No matter what you read, it is best to discuss what you have read with your own physician before trying something on your own.

There are many vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements that are taken in order to alleviate any number of ailments. It is very important that you tell your physician about any and all of these supplements whether or not they are "natural." Many of these supplements have significant interactions with medications, may increase your likelihood of bleeding, and can seriously affect your outcome.

The science or research behind some of these suggested interactions are anecdotal and others are well documented. In general, it is difficult to study these supplements, because their market is not as well regulated as the prescription drug market. In other words, buying one type of Vitamin E may not be the same as buying another Vitamin E.

Here is a list of some reactions/interactions:

  • Vitamin A - will actually help healing if you're on steroids
  • Vitamin C - important in the formation of collagen, i.e. healing tissues
  • Vitamin E - increased risk of bleeding
  • Dong Quai - may increase risk of bleeding
  • Feverfew - may increase risk of bleeding
  • Fish oil - increased risk of bleeding
  • Garlic - may increase risk of bleeding
  • Ginkgo - may affect your blood pressure
  • St. John's Wort - interacts with many medications

As you can see, there are many different reactions to many different herbal or natural supplements. Once again, tell your physician about all of your medications and supplements prior to any surgery and prior to changing any of them.

Edward S. Lee, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Don't take excessive vitamins,just 1 MVI and some Vit C.

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I tell my patients that they can take a single mutlivitamin each day and some Vitamin C suplements. Otherwise, they should avoid all herbal's and additonal vitamins. Some people like to take VIt E., but actually excessive Vit E can impair wound healing. The herbals can have additional items in them that can cause bleeding and can effect the medications that the anesthesiologist administers.

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

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Avoid vitamin E and herbal remedies

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Before surgery, your surgeon should give you a list of medications and remedies to avoid for 2 weeks prior to AND after surgery that increase your tendency to bleed. These include Motrin, Advil, Aspirin, Vitamin E and many commonly used herbal supplements.

Some Supplements and Vitamins Can Cause Complications

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Bottom Line: Certain vitamins and minerals can speed healing others can cause problems and slow the process down or cause complications such as excessive bruising or bleeding during surgery. Other medicines can interact with the medications required during and after surgery. If healing is going well I usually let my patients go back to their usual regimen of supplements.
For example, 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.

Recovery Vitamins

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I recommend that you avoid all foods, supplements, and medications that thin your blood. You should take a multi-vitamin that contains vitamins A, B, C, D, and K, but no vitamin E. Natural supplements such as Bromelain and Arnica Montana are also very beneficial to reduce bruising, swelling, and pain. My patients typically start their recovery supplements 2 weeks before surgery, and continue for 2 weeks post-op. I hope this helps.

Lu-Jean Feng, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Vitamins prior to surgery

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Being as healthy as possible prior to surgery makes sense.  Most plastic surgeons will provide guidelines for preparing for surgery including medications and supplements to take and to avoid before and after surgery. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep are some of the most important things you can do before surgery to recover quickly and feel your best.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 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.