Use of herbal supplements and vitamins in plastic surgery: A practical review

George Broughton, Melissa A. Crosby, Jayne Coleman, Rod J. Rohrich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After studying this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Explain what governmental regulations control the labeling and distribution of herbal supplements. 2. List the more commonly used supplements and their reported benefits. 3. List the possible postoperative complications from consumption of the more commonly used herbal supplements. 4. Explain the preoperative management of patients using herbal supplements. 5. Know additional resources to consult when unanswered questions arise. BACKGROUND: The American public spends over $5 billion per year on herbal supplements, and approximately 20 percent of all Americans use prescription medications concurrently with herbal supplements. As the number of people who take alternative medicines rises, there is growing awareness among health care providers of the need to become educated and to educate their patients on the effects that such supplementation may have on their health. As plastic surgeons, we have an added responsibility to become informed because of potential adverse interactions with other medications and anesthesia in the elective surgical patient. METHODS: Literature regarding commonly encountered herbal supplements and vitamins was reviewed and summarized to include reported indications for use and potential adverse effects and interactions specific to the perioperative patient. RESULTS: Abundant literature exists regarding herbal supplementation, but very little scientific evidence exists to advocate the use of the majority of supplements available on the market. In addition, little is known about the positive and negative interactions that these supplements are capable of producing, and those interactions that are known are based on case reports. CONCLUSIONS: With the lack of quality scientific studies to support the efficacy of most herbal products available and the limited regulation of these products by the government, health care providers are faced with a significant public health dilemma. This article provides a brief overview of information published on commonly encountered herbal supplements and vitamins taken by plastic surgery patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48e-66e
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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