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Plastic Surgery Blog

Medications and Supplements to Avoid Before Surgery


We've talked before about measures to take before surgery, including discontinuing smoking and eating a more healthy diet in order to enhance healing. While most people realize that they should avoid drinking alcohol and doing recreational drugs, they don't understand that regular medications, vitamins, and supplements can also cause problems. Here we will discuss why this is and how to manage your medications and supplements before your surgery.

Both pharmaceutical medications and natural remedies like vitamins or herbal supplements work by causing chemical changes within your body. These chemical reactions are designed to have positive effects like reducing pain, but they have additional effects that you may not be aware of. Under ordinary circumstances, these side effects may not be dangerous, but surgery is serious business. When you have surgery, your doctor will cut into your body. A healthy person can withstand the trauma of incision and heal from it. However, if you are taking medication or supplements that cause blood clotting, swelling, or heavy bleeding, this can cause problems during the surgery and afterwards. This is the kind of unpredictable outcome everyone wants to avoid.

When you go in for your initial consultation with your doctor, you should make him aware of every medication or supplement you are taking. Bring a list. During the two-week period before surgery through to the two-week period afterward, you should not take any medically unnecessary vitamins or supplements. Your doctor will give you special instructions for routine medications, insulin, or blood thinners you are taking.

Again, you may not think of these as "medicine," but Alka-Seltzer, Midol, diet pills, garlic, ginseng, and Vitamin C can all affect your cardiovascular system and create issues during surgery. It's important to be aware of what you are putting into your body during the two-week period before your surgery.

If you have any problems tolerating pain medication or anesthesia, the consultation is also the time to make your doctor aware so that alternatives can be substituted. The more your doctor knows about any physical limitations you have, the safer your surgery will be. The safer your surgery is, the better your outcome!

Finally, we've talked about stopping smoking before surgery, but you should discontinue using all tobacco products. This includes cigarettes, cigars, nicotine gum, and patches. Nicotine absorption impacts blood flow to the tissues, and you need that blood flow to reach your tissues if you're going to heal after your surgery.

The human body is complex, robust, and has the instinct to heal itself, but it's best to be extra careful about medications and supplements you eat, drink, and take before you head into a procedure like surgery. Focus on eating healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep for an additional healing advantage.

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