There are several things you can do in the lead up to your surgery to ensure you are at your best, and one of them is making sure your body is receiving the right nutrients and vitamins. Whilst many people already take certain vitamins and supplements, it helps to know which ones are recommended for anyone preparing for surgery. It is generally recommended you start taking supplements at least six weeks before your surgery to get the most out of their benefits. We liaised with Dr Lisa Friederich, Plastic Surgeon from St Leonards in Sydney to help us identify which ones are suggested – and which ones are recommended you stay away from.
However, before we go through them all, please make sure you discuss with your surgeon all vitamins and supplements you are currently taking or are considering taking before, during and after your surgery. This is extremely important, as your surgeon may have concerns specific to you and your unique body, and advice relevant and essential to you and you only.
There are some widely recommended and commonly accepted vitamins and minerals suggested to be part of your pre-surgery preparation. We will list them below and explain why they are so beneficial.
Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system, and is the key nutrient to assist in rebuilding collagen. It is also seen as a tissue antioxidant. If you take nothing else, Vitamin C is seen as the Number 1 vitamin for helping speed up recovery.
Zinc – also seen as one of the most essential, Zinc is said to dramatically increase the speed of healing. It is vital for the immune system and can assist to reduce inflammation and help with scar formation (minimises scar tissue growth which can make the appearance of the scar more prominent). It can also discourage bacterial growth and contribute towards reducing your chances of infection.
Vitamin A – also good for boosting your immune system, activating connective tissue regrowth and rebuilding collagen. A great anti-inflammatory. Warning: Vitamin A may interrupt the effectiveness of steroids, so if you are requiring steroids as part of your procedure you may need to stop taking Vitamin A.
Bioflavonoids – These help to increase the antioxidants of other nutrients and helps to prevent excessive bleeding and bruising. Also with great anti-bacterial properties they help to control inflammation and boost the immune system.
Protein – It is well known that increasing your dietary intake in the lead up to a surgical procedure will greatly enhance your body’s strength and ability to heal. Also helps the body to fight off any infections and reduce inflammation.
Probiotics – it is well known that antibiotics can cause fungal and yeast infections. A probiotic will counteract these issues and contribute to speeding your recovery.
Just as important, if not more so, are the vitamins and supplements you should STOP taking before your surgery. Some have the ability to hinder and greatly interrupt your healing. Some of these include: Vitamin E, Gingko Biloba, garlic, ginger, feverfew, aspirin, borage seed oil, curcumin, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, ginseng, and green tea.
Remember, make sure you discuss any supplements you are taking or considering on taking with your surgeon. Working together will ensure the best outcome and chances of increasing a speedy and successful recovery.
If you would like more information on Dr Lisa Friederich click here, or phone her directly on 0431 278 693 to arrange a consult.