How Medications Adversely Affect Plastic Surgery

Medications to Avoid before SurgeryOne of the most important things patients and plastic surgeons discuss during the pre-operative consultation is the patient’s use of medications, herbs, and vitamins. Certain products or common ingredients found in medications can increase the risk of complications during or after surgery. That is why it is imperative that plastic surgeons take the time to review each patient’s medical history and review the types of medications that could potentially cause complications for cosmetic surgery patients. Here, Dr. Vince Marin reviews the ways in which certain medications, herbs, and vitamins can affect the patient, and some of the most common ones to avoid.

Poor Interaction with Anesthesia

Certain medications and herbs are known to adversely react to the medications used in anesthesia. To prevent any complications during surgery, patients should avoid the following medications before surgery:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, doxepin, and desipramine
  • Valerian
  • St John’s Wort
  • Kava

Poor Interaction with Pain Medication

Certain medications, herbs, and vitamins may interfere with the pain pills, antibiotics, and other medications used after surgery. Since use of the following products can increase your risk of infection and the efficacy of your pain medication, it is important that patients avoid:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, doxepin, and desipramine
  • Echinacea
  • Goldenseal
  • Licorice
  • St John’s Wort
  • Kava
  • Valerian
  • Vitamin B-complex

Blood Thinning Properties

A number of medications, herbs, and vitamins affect the blood and can actually increase your risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Patients should avoid the following medications before and after surgery:

  • Anticoagulants such as Heparin and Warfarin
  • Aspirin – Bayer and Bufferin
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex, Vioxx)
  • Gingko Biloba
  • Garlic
  • Ginseng
  • Fish Oils (omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Dong Quai
  • Feverfew

Cardiovascular Effects

Patients that are taking any herbs or supplements that have a cardiovascular effect should discontinue use several weeks before surgery:

  • Ephedra
  • Garlic

Safe Pain Relief

Considering that NSAID and aspirin products should not be used during recovery, many patients want to know what medication is safe for pain relief after surgery. Acetaminophen products such as Tylenol are recommended and safe for use after surgery.

The medication lists that are featured above are by no means comprehensive. Patients should come to their pre-operative appointment with a list of any medications, supplements, herbs, or vitamins that they have taken in the past three years. Then, Dr. Marin can let you know if any of the products you have a history of taking could have an adverse affect on your surgery. Dr. Marin will also go over the list of medications, herbs, and vitamins that you should avoid before and after surgery. If you have taken any products that are cause for concern, Dr. Marin will request that you halt their use for a few weeks before and after surgery. If it is not safe for you to stop your medication, you may not be considered a good candidate for surgery.

Contact Marin Aesthetics to schedule your consultation with Dr. Marin.

About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!