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When "natural" is no good

Article-When "natural" is no good

Cleveland — A report published in the March/April issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal seems to belie the conventional wisdom that “natural” or “herbal” over-the-counter products are free of risk, reports Medical News Today.

The report, co-authored by David J. Rowe, M.D., assistant professor of plastic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, notes that more than 40 percent of plastic surgery patients use herbal supplements in the two weeks prior to undergoing surgery. More important, the report warns that while some herbal supplements may provide benefits during recovery, commonly used herbal medications — such as ginkgo biloba, ginseng, garlic, Echinacea and valerian root, among others — can have deleterious effects when combined with surgery.

According to the report, the most significant — and potentially dangerous — effects of alternative medicines occur during and immediately after plastic surgery procedures. Medical News Today quotes Dr. Rowe as saying, “In considering the dizzying array of supplements available, the main concerns of the plastic surgeon are interaction with other medications, cardiovascular effects, alteration of coagulation and sedative effects.”

The report goes on to note that as many as 70 percent of patients may not disclose their use of such products to their surgeon, sometimes because they feel the doctor has little knowledge of — or may disapprove of — the supplements. Some patients simply fail to recognize the relevance of supplement usage to their medical care, write the authors.

“This article was written to help plastic surgeons and their patients identify potentially harmful herbal supplements, based on the most current scientific research,” says Dr. Rowe. “On the positive side, we also discuss how providing the correct supplements and nutrients after aesthetic surgery can be very therapeutic.”

In concluding their report, the authors recommend that patients be provided with a comprehensive list of supplements that must be avoided in the perioperative period to minimize potential surgical complications.

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