Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why do you take herbal and/or dietary supplements.?

You must feel they make a difference in your physical condition. Yet, when filling out the medical information form before your medical or surgical appointment, do you include all of them in the list of "medicines" you take?
Many people don't feel they are important enough to include with their prescription drugs when informing the physician about their medicinal intake.
Dr. Foad Nahal MD, editor in chief of Aesthetic Surgery Journal points out, "Many patients don't disclose their intake of herbs or supplements, and they are often not aware of the risk of complications, which can seriously compromise surgical outcomes and patient safety," 

As a plastic surgeon in Florida, were many older people regularly take herbal and dietary supplements, I am always concerned that these items appear in the surgical patient's medical record. "Natural" products can have dangerous bleeding effects. Dr. Subhas Gupta of Loma Linda University affirms that herbal foods, supplements, teas and other homeopathic remedies can compromise patient safety if their effects are not considered prior to surgery.
The most popular herbs and supplements with potentially dangerous bleeding effects include Chinese peony, garlic, ginger, ginko, ginseng, oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) and Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens, Salbalserrulata). I recommend to patients that they stop ingesting these items two to three weeks before surgery is scheduled, just to be on the safe side.  I also advise them not to resume taking them until my approval after the surgery.                   
Of course, every patient is different and therefore this can only be considered general information, not medical advice. Only your doctor should give you that. 
Incidentally, some doctors even recommend against using aspirin or ibuprofen several weeks before Botox-type injections. These pain relievers can thin the blood and cause bleeding, which can increase bruising at the injection site.

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