About half of cosmetic surgery patients take herbal and other supplements, but they may not disclose their use of such natural remedies to their doctors, according to new research.
Case Western Reserve University medical specialists who conducted the study, published in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, noted some supplements can cause surgical complications, so it’s critical that patients inform their doctors about any natural remedies they may be taking
"It is extremely important to investigate the use of herbal medicines, as many of these supplements can put the surgical patient at risk," noted Bahman Guyuron, M.D.
Dr. Guyuron and colleagues also advises patients to stop taking supplements at least two weeks before undergoing cosmetic plastic surgery.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the medical charts of 200 patients undergoing cosmetic facial surgery to determine how many were taking herbal supplements and what types they were using. More than 80 percent of patients were women; the average age was 45 years.
Among the findings:
- Forty-nine percent of patients were using at least one type of supplement.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements only — most commonly multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B — were used by 25 percent of patients.
- Twenty-two percent were taking animal- and plant-based supplements — most commonly fish oil — in addition to vitamins and minerals.
- Older patients and women were more likely to report supplement use.
- Overall, patients reported taking 53 different types of supplements. The average number of supplements was nearly three per patient, although one patient was taking 28 different supplements.
What’s more, the researchers found 35 patients were taking supplements that have been linked to an increased risk of bleeding, such as bilberry, bromelain, fish oil, flaxseed oil, garlic, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), selenium, and vitamin E. In addition, some patients reported taking other popular supplements with potential side effects, such as echinacea, ephedra (ma huang), ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St. John's wort, valerian, feverfew and ginger.
Because patients regard supplements as safe, "natural" products, they may not tell doctors about supplements when asked what medications they are taking, the researchers noted, raising the potential for surgical complications.
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