Why should I avoid aspirin-type drugs before my facelift? What about vitamins, herbal medicines and food supplements?
This is an issue that we take very seriously. The fundamental problem with non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac etc is that they reduce the ability of the blood to clot. This is of paramount concern immediately after a facelift, as excessive bleeding can lead to the formation of a haematoma (a significant collection of blood at the operation site). Although smaller haematomas can be treated without an operation, larger or rapidly expanding collections of blood at the site of surgery require immediate drainage. This requires an operation, usually carried out as an emergency. In such an event, the wound is significantly more likely to become infected, ultimately leading to a worse cosmetic outcome. You will also need to stay in hospital for an extra night.
Minor degrees of haematoma may not require surgical drainage, but any post-operative bruising is likely to be much more extensive.
How long do I need to avoid NSAIDs for before a facelift?
We stipulate a minimum of eight weeks. We do not perform any kind of facelift on anyone who has taken NSAIDs within the preceding eight weeks.
What happens if I forget and take a NSAID by mistake just before my facelift?
Let us know as soon as possible. We will postpone your operation as appropriate. Do not be tempted to think it will be alright to ignore our advice, or you will have a problem.
Are there any other drugs or diseases that can also interfere with blood clotting and cause problems?
Yes – the two main drugs are clopidogrel and warfarin. It is unlikely that you will be eligible for cosmetic surgery if you are on either of these drugs. However, you should always check with us if in any doubt or you are prescribed any new medication. We may need to liaise with your GP or other consultant to decide the best course of action.
As clotting factors are produced in the liver, any disease process that interferes with liver function can also be problematic. Excessive alcohol consumption leading to cirrhosis can cause problems not only with clotting but with sedation.
Your surgeon will take a careful medical and drug history at your initial consultation. We always adopt a very conservative approach – we would rather 'be safe than sorry'.
What about vitamins, herbal medicines and food supplements?
This is often overlooked. You should cease taking all herbal medicines, vitamins and food supplements two weeks before surgery and resume two weeks after surgery.
You should be particularly vigilant to avoid the following (although the list is not exhaustive):
- Cod liver oil
- Fish oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Gamma linoleic acid
- St John's wort
- Vitamin E
How soon after my facelift can I resume taking NSAIDs and other medications?
We recommend a minimum period of two weeks. Always ask if you are unsure about anything!