Herbal Medicines and Orthopedic
Some herbal medicines and
dietary supplements can affect blood clotting. This can complicate
surgery and recovery if patients and doctors donít discuss ALL the
medicines a patient is taking. Complications can include:
prolonged bleeding of the surgical wound;
bleeding into a joint or muscle, leading to
pain and infection;
the need for blood transfusions.
operate on bones and joints. Many of their patients have painful
arthritis and use herbal medicines and other alternative therapies.
They may also be taking prescribed medicines that could interact
with herbal medicines.
Two orthopedic surgeons
recently published their review of herbal medicines that could cause
bleeding, interact with anesthesia, or cause other problems if
patients donít stop them before surgery. These herbals include
echinacea, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, saw palmetto,
St. Johnís wort, and valerian. Other supplements that should be
stopped prior to surgery include glucosamine, chondroitin, Sam-e (S-adenosylmethionine),
Doctors should ask
patients about all of their medicines, including prescription
medicines, non-prescription medicines, herbal medicines, home
remedies, and other alternative therapies. Likewise, patients should
provide a complete list of all of their medicines, therapies, and
remedies. Some medicines and supplements must be discontinued as
long as one to two weeks before surgery. Likewise, it may be a week
or more before it is safe to resume taking these preparations after
For questions about the
safe use of your medicines or possible health effects, call the
poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
Rispler DT, Sara J. The impact of complementary and alternative
treatment modalities on the care of orthopedic patients. J Am
Acad Orthop Surg. 2011;19:634-643.