03 July 2013

Capsules and pillsA study in the US has found that almost half of facial cosmetic surgery patients take herbal supplements before their procedure. Dr Bahman Guyuron of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, says the role of these substances needs to be researched as they could be harmful to patients.Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), analysed 200 patients undergoing surgeries such as facelifts and rhinoplasty. More than 80 per cent of patients were women and the average age was 45 years. Forty-nine per cent of patients were using at least one type of supplement. Dr Bahman Guyuron advises patients stop taking supplements at least two weeks before surgery and inform the surgeon if anything has been taken. Although there has been no full research in this area, supplements like bilberry, bromelain, fish oil, flaxseed oil and garlic have been linked to an increased risk of bleeding. It is extremely important to investigate the use of herbal medicines, as many of these supplements can put the surgical patient at risk, he said. [High risk supplements] are quite commonly used and the surgeon must elicit a complete history in order to avoid the known adverse consequences of supplement use on surgical outcome. Dietary supplements are widely used in the United States. Since these are not regulated, there is a severe lack of data on their safety and effectiveness, according to Dr Guyuron and colleagues.