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Eplasty. 2011;11:e27. Epub 2011 May 19.

Perioperative use of herbal, complementary, and over the counter medicines in plastic surgery patients.

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St Andrew's Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, Court Road, Broomfield, Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom.



Over the last 50 years, there has been a surge of interest by both the public and medical practitioners in therapies and disciplines that are not considered part of mainstream medical care. The title given to these is complementary and alternative medicine. Of all these branches, our interest is the increasing use of herbal medicines, traditional medicines (such as Chinese or Indian), homeopathy and "dietary supplements," and the influence they may have on our practice. Our objective was to examine the prevalence and reasons for use of complementary and alternative medicines, the current regulations, and proposed policy changes affecting the licensing of these products. In addition, we highlight some of the problems that have been experienced with herbal and traditional medicines.


A prospective analysis of herbal and over the counter medicines used by elective plastic surgery patients.


Of 100 elective plastic surgery patients undergoing procedures at St Andrew's Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, 44% of patients were taking a dietary supplement, herbal, or homeopathic remedy. In none of the patients was this documented in the notes by either the surgeon or anesthetist.


We recommend that clear documentation of the use of nonprescribed medicines becomes part of standard practice and, furthermore, that patients stop all such medications 2 weeks prior to surgery until the efficacy, interactions, and safety profiles are clearly established.


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