Medications to Avoid Before Your Tummy Tuck Surgery

You must inform your plastic surgeon and the anesthesiologist of every medication, vitamin, and dietary or herbal supplement that you take. On your abdominoplasty consultation tell them of any product that you used in the last 6 months, because many drugs and supplements take as long as several weeks to be fully purged from the body.

You will almost certainly be told to avoid all types of aspirin and anything containing aspirin for up 2 weeks before your abdominoplasty surgery. You may also be told to avoid ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), another common pain reliever. Both of these drugs are blood thinners (anticoagulants), which means that they increase the risk of excessive bleeding during surgery. Aspirin is a stronger blood thinner than ibuprofen, but ibuprofen does prevent clotting to some extent.

Aspirin is an ingredient in many types of branded and generic pain relievers, so make sure you read the labels. Aspirin is the generic name for the chemical acetylsalicylic acid, occasionally abbreviated as ASA. The most famous brand of aspirin is Bayer Aspirin. If you need an aspirin-free fever reducer or pain reliever, ask your surgeon if you can take Tylenol (acetaminophen), which does interfere with blood clotting.

Do not assume that any drug that is sold without a prescription ('over the counter' or OTC) is completely safe and without side effects. Many over-the-counter medications should not be used as you prepare for surgery or during the period right after it. Tell your doctor about any OTC medications you frequently use.

Also do not assume that herbal products are safe because they are natural. If a product has an effect on your body, it can have a side effect and it could possibly interfere with another drug. Many herbal supplements, notably St. John's wort, interact with medications. Even homeopathic supplements can increase some risks during and after surgery, so please disclose every medication, essential oil, supplement, suspension, etc. Your life and wellbeing may depend upon it.

If you use any drugs recreationally, tell your doctor. Your surgeon needs to know if you smoke marijuana, use cocaine, or whatever. Stop using all recreational drugs well in advance of your abdominoplasty surgery.

Also, if you smoke, stop smoking at least 2 to 3 weeks before your tummy tuck surgery and don't start again until at least 2 to 3 weeks afterward. Smoking significantly reduces your body's blood circulation. Your body will not heal as well and you will develop more visible surgical scars if you smoke.

This list is long, but it does not include every drug that might cause a problem. Do not use this list in place of telling your surgeon what medications or supplements you take. You could be risking your health and possibly your life by doing that. Also, do not just stop taking a prescription medication. Talk to your surgeon or to the doctor who prescribed the medication first.

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All Advil products, Alka-Seltzer, Aluprin, Aleve, Amigesic Capsules, Anacin, Ansaid, Analval, Anaprox, Anaprox-DS, Anaproxen, Anodynos, Ansaid, APC, Argesic, Arthra-G, Arthralgen, Arthritis Pain Formula, Arthritis Strength Bufferin, Arthropan, Arthropan Liquid, Ascodeen, Ascriptin, all Ascriptin products, Asperbuf, Aspercin, Aspergum, aspirin (of any kind, including suppository form), ASpirTab, Asprimox products, ASA Tablets, Axotal, Azdone, azulfidine products

B-A-C, all Bayer Aspirin products, BC Powder/Tablets, Bismatrol, bilberry tablets, Brufen products, Buff-A-Comp, Buff-A Comp No.3 Tablets with codeine, Buffaprin, Buffasal, all Bufferin products, all buffered aspirin products, Buffets II, Buffex, Buffinol, Butalbital, Butal/ASA/caffeine compound, Butazolidin

Cama Arthritis Pain Reliever, Cataflam, carisoprodol, cayenne, Cephalgesic, Cheracol, Clinoril, Congespirin, Contac products, Cope, Coricidin products, Coumadin, Cosprin products, CP-2

Damason-P, Darvon products, Daypro, Deprenyl, diclofenac, diflunisal, dipryridamole, Disalcid, Diurex, Doan's products, Dolobid, Dolophine, Drinophen, Dristan products, Duoprin products, Duradyne DHC

Easprin, echinacea, Ecotrin products, Eldepryl, Emagrin, Empirin products, Emprazil, Endodan, Epromate-M, Equagesic, Equazine-M, etodolac, Excedrin

Feldene, fenoprofen, Fiogesic, Fiorinal products, Florgen, Flurbiprofen, 4 Way Cold products

Garlic tablets or supplement, Gelpirin, Genpril, Genprin, Gensan, Ghemnisym, Ginger, Gingko biloba, Goody's Headache Powder products

Haltran, heparin, Halfprin

Ibu, Ibu-Tab, ibuprofen, Ibuprin, Ibuprohm, Indocin, Indochron, indomethacin, Infantol, iproniazid, isocarboxazid, Isollyl

Ketoprofen, ketorolac


Lanorinal, licorice root, Lodine, Lortab ASA  

Magan, Magnaprin, Magsal, all MAO inhibitors, Marnal, Marplan, Marthritic, Measurin, meclofenamate, Meclomen, Medigistic-Plus, Medipren, Menadol, Meprogesic, methocarbamol, Micranin, Midol products, Mobidin, Mobigesic, Momentum, Monogesic, all Motrin products

Nabumetone, Nalfon, Naprosyn, Nardil, nefazodone, Norgesic products, Norwich Extra Strength Aspirin, Nuprin, NyQuil/NyQuil P.M.

Omega-3 oil (fish oil), Orphenagesic products, Orudis, Oruvail, oxycodone/aspirin           

P-A-C, Pabalate, Pacaps, Pamprin-IB, Panalgesic, Panodynes, papaya, Parnate, PediaProfen, Pedrazil, pentoxifylline, Percodan products, Persantine, Persisrin, PetoBismol, Phenaphen, phenelzine, pine bark extract, piroxicam, Presalin, Propoxyphene, Ponstel, Pycnogenol

Quagesic, Quiet World

Relafen, Rexolate, Robaxin, Robasisal, Roxiprin, Rufen, Robaxisal  

S-A-C, Salatin. Saleto products, Salflex, salicylamide, Salocol, salsalate, Salsitab, selegiline, Serzone, Sine-Aid products, Sine-Off products, Soma Compound products, St. Johns wort, St. Josephs Aspirin products, sodium thiosalicylate, Stanback Analgesic, Sudafed, sulindac, Supac, Synalgos products

Talwin, Tenol-Plus, Tolectin products, tolmetin, Toradol, tranylcypromine, Trendar, Trental, Triaminicin, Tricosal, Trigesic, Trilisate, Tri-Pain

Ultrapin, Unipro

Valesin, Vanquish, ViroMed, Vitamin E, Voltaren

Warfarin, Wesprin Buffered


Zactrin, Zorprin

 Special Medication Alerts!
If you are on antidepressants, please advise your abdominoplasty surgeon. Some antidepressants are in a class called monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (occasionally abbreviated as MAOI). MAO inhibitors can cause severe problems when combined with anesthesia, especially general anesthesia. The combination can cause dangerously low blood pressure during surgery. By telling your surgeon and anesthesiologist in advance that you take MAO inhibitors, they can make adjustments for your anesthesia and watch for any problems.

MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil, Nardelzine), tranylcypromine (Parnate, Jatrosom), iproniazid (Marslid, Iprozid, Ipronid, Rivivol, Propilniazida), iproclozide, tolozatone, selegiline (Eldepryl, Deprenyl), and nialamide, but this is not a complete list.

These drugs are used for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, essential hypertension, chronic pain syndromes, and migraine headaches. They work by inhibiting nerve transmissions in brain that may cause depression.

It is reported that drug interactions can occur even weeks after discontinued use of an MAOI. Therefore, anyone who is schedule to undergo surgery with general anesthesia may be instructed to stop taking the drugs several weeks in advance to avoid possible cardiovascular effects. However, as I said before, adjustments can be made in anesthesia doses if needed.

 Other Supplements, Vitamins and Herbal Remedies To Avoid Before Cosmetic Surgery
I know many people may take herbal supplements and that many of these products can be very beneficial. However, many herbal products are contraindicated with anesthesia or surgery. If an herbal product has an effect on your body (and face it, why would you take an herbal supplement if you didn't think it would have an effect?) it is a drug. All herbal products have side effects and contraindications, just like any other drug.

Some people think that because these supplements are OTC they must be safe to use. But many of these can severally hurt you when used in conjunction with anesthesia, other medications, or while undergoing surgery. You may also think that because herbal products are 'natural' that they are safe. Arsenic, hemlock, and toadstools are all natural, too, and they are poisons.

You may also think that telling your surgeon or anesthesiologist about what products you use would be embarrassing, especially if you shouldn't be taking the products or if you are taking them for weight loss, to increase your sexual stamina, or for depression. Tell your plastic surgeon, anyway! This is your life, so don't mess around!

Here are some supplements and herbal remedies and the reasons they potentially could cause problems during cosmetic surgery:

  • Vitamin E is usually prohibited before and directly after surgery. It can inhibits the formation of blood clots. Stop taking Vitamin E at least 2 to 3 weeks before surgery and don't take it again until 2 to 3 weeks afterwards, unless specifically instructed by your surgeon.
  • Garlic (allium sativum) tablets, ginger, alfalfa, cayenne, papaya, feverfew, chamomile, dong quai root, willow bark, goldenseal, guarana, horse chestnut and bilberry have antiplatelet properties and can inhibit blood clotting, which means they could cause excessive bleeding. Don't worry about the amounts of garlic, ginger, and cayenne in foods. We are talking large doses, such as with supplements.
  • Gingko (also called gingko biloba) and selenium are also anticoagulants.
  • Ginseng can cause rapid heartbeat and/or elevated blood pressure in some people, and can interfere with coagulation.
  • St. John's wort, yohimbe, and licorice root have a mild monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitory effect. (Mot licorice candy uses artificial flavoring, but check the label if you eat a lot of licorice.)
  • Melatonin can decrease the amount of anesthesia needed for surgery, which means you might get an inadvertent overdose unless your anesthesiologist knows in advance.
  • Kava kava, hawthorn, lemon verbena, mugwort, lavender, and valerian or valerian root have tranquilizing properties and should not be combined with other sedative agents.
  • Echinacea can have a severe impact on the liver when combined with general anesthesia. It can also disrupt coagulation.
  • Ma huang (also called ephedra) and other ephedra or ephedrine products, which was used by many for weight loss and once was a major component of most weight loss supplements, has been associated with more than 800 adverse health effects, including death. It is an amphetamine-like compound with the potential for stimulating the central nervous system and heart. (I strongly discourage the use of this supplement in any form. In large doses ephedrine causes nervousness, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, palpitations, skin flushing, tingling and vomiting.)
  • Gotu kola has a stimulant effect.
  • Ackee fruit as well as, alfalfa, aloe, agimony, barley, bitter melon, burdock root, carrot oil, chromium, coriander, dandelion root, devil's club, eucalyptus, fenugreek seeds, fo-ti, large amounts of natural garlic, ginseng, grape seed, guayusa, juniper, neem seed oil, large amounts of onions, periwinkle, and yellow root can alter blood glucose levels.

Diet Pills, Fat Loss Supplements, and Stackers
Please, Please, Please! Stop taking any diet pills at least 2 to 3 weeks before abdominoplasty surgery. Many of these pills contain anticoagulants and can seriously impede your body's ability to clot sufficiently, which can result in hemorrhaging. They may also contain large amounts of caffeine.