High Rate of Supplement Use by People Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery

A recent study conducted by researchers with Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland reveals that most of the older females undergoing facial cosmetic surgery use herbal supplements. The study was published in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The researchers say that about half of the cosmetic surgery candidates are using herbal and other supplements.

The charts of 200 patients who were 15 and older who underwent cosmetic facial surgery including facelift surgery or rhinoplasty with one surgeon were analyzed. The study reviewed their preoperative medication lists to find out how many of them were using herbal supplements and what all types were being used. Here are the details of the study.

  • More than 80 percent of the individuals who were reviewed were women.
  • Average age of the individuals was 45 years.
  • 49% of them were using at least one type of supplement.
  • The study group members were classified as herbal supplement users and non-herbal supplement users.
  • 24.5% of them used only vitamins or minerals.
  • 2.5 percent of them were using animal and plant based supplements.
  • 22 % were taking animal and plant based supplements such as fish oil along with vitamins and minerals.
  • Overall, 53 different types of supplements were reported as used.
  • Dietary supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding such as bilberry, bromelain, garlic, methylsulfonylmethane, selenium, fish oil, flax seed oil, and vitamin E, were reported forty five times in 35 patients.
  • In the herbal group, an average number of 2.8 supplements were used, 89.8% of candidates were female and the average age was 51.4.
  • In the non-herbal group, there were 77.5 percent female candidates and the average age was 38.5 years.

Dietary supplements are being extensively used in the United States. Almost 20 percent of all the patients reviewed and 35.7 percent of herbal supplement users would have been at risk of bleeding if they were not instructed to stop the use of the supplements before surgery. Careful documentation of those products needs to be done and awareness must be created taking into account their possible ill effects on surgery and recovery. Advising patients not to consume such products would improve their safety and minimize the recovery period after their cosmetic surgery procedure.