How important is diet and supplement restriction prior to any plastic surgery procedure?

Very important.

A questionnaire carried out prior to patients seeing me for the first time will ask about their medical history and medications that they are on. This is important in order to assess a patient’s general health, fitness for surgery, as well as highlighting any medication that may have an untoward effect on the surgery, which therefore need to be altered or ceased. A prime example are blood thinners, including aspirin, clopidogrel, and warfarin, just to name a few.

What many patients are unaware of are the effects on surgery of daily dietary factors, as well as supplements that are in general not considered to be “medications”. A high salt intake, which includes many packaged and fast foods, will promote increased post-surgical swelling. The reason for this in simple terms is that if the salt (sodium) content in your body is high, then your body will work to retain water in order to dilute and balance out the salt levels. Garlic, ginger, and herbal teas (including green tea), as well as many over-the-counter supplements including vitamins, primrose oil, cod liver oil, garlic tablets, fish oil, krill oil, and omega 3 can have an aspirin-like effect. They increase the clotting time of the blood that may lead to more bleeding in the area of surgery, which may in turn increase postoperative swelling.

I suggest that the above mentioned dietary factors and supplements that can negatively affect surgery be ceased 2 weeks prior to surgery. In addition, plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and a high water intake will ensure that your body is well hydrated, in optimal condition to undergo surgery, and primed for a rapid recovery.