Before cosmetic surgery there are many things you have to think about. One very important thing to discuss with your doctor is the medication that you are currently taking. Herbal medications need to be included in your list of medications, as they can have many potent and unexpected side effects.
Avoiding aspirin, NSAIDS, (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) alcohol, and herbal supplements such as fish oil for at least two weeks pre-operatively is optimal. If a doctor has specifically put you on blood thinning medications for health reasons, your plastic surgeon will need to know this to make arrangements on taking you off.
Aspirin is a drug that affects platelet function. Platelets are a type of cell in your body necessary for forming clots, which is important to limit bleeding during surgery. The process for platelet regeneration typically takes two weeks to replace any affected platelets. You would need to stop taking any aspirin two weeks prior to your plastic surgery procedure therefore to regenerate your platelets.
Alcohol, especially red win,e is another substance to avoid before your procedure. Alcohol interferes with coagulation (clotting) of the blood and can increase the chance of bleeding during surgery, therefore prolonging your recovery. Alcohol can also increase your postoperative swelling as it widens your blood vessels, which in turn can cause your body to swell.
Other medications to avoid would also include many herbal supplements. An impartial list includes Fish Oil, Ginko Biloba, Garlic, Ginger, and Vitamin E, just to name a few. Most patients do not inform their doctors of the herbal medication they are taking because they see them as safe and natural. This does not mean that they do not cause side effects! To prevent an avoidable complication that may arise in surgery, your doctor needs to know every medication you are taking. Stopping these medications two weeks prior to surgery can significantly decrease bleeding during and after surgery.
Even something seemingly “innocent” such as cinnamon or licorice will need to be stopped before surgery. Cinnamon is a medication that contains coumarone, which is a compound of Warfarin; this is one of the most common prescription blood thinners prescribed to patients. This is just one example of a “simple” herbal medication that actually can have some major consequences.
Obviously, avoiding a postoperative complication is ideal with any surgery, but particularly in regards to completely elective surgery. The best thing you can do as a patient is provide your plastic surgeon with a complete list of medications you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. In addition, if your physician provides you with a list of medications to avoid, read the list and follow it! This could mean the difference between an uneventful and complication-filled recovery.