How to Minimize Post-operative Bruising

October 02, 2012

Plastic surgery techniques have become safer and more effective than ever before, resulting in more natural looking results and a more comfortable recovery period for patients. However, despite the many advances in the field, patients should have reasonable expectations about the side effects of surgery. It is inevitable that patients will experience some degree of bruising, swelling, and discomfort after surgery. Dr. Crawford will be as gentle as possible during surgery to limit trauma to surrounding tissues; this will serve to minimize the severity of bruising, swelling, and pain after surgery for our Atlanta patients. In addition, there are measures that patients can take to reduce post-operative side effects. In this blog post, we focus on tips to reduce bruising after plastic surgery.

Pre-operative Tips to Reduce Bruising

Whether you are undergoing breast augmentation, tummy tuck, rhinoplasty, facelift, or eyelid surgery, it is a good idea to follow these pre-surgical instructions.

  • Avoid blood thinners: Do not take blog thinning medications and herbs for at least two weeks before surgery. This includes aspirin and NSAIDs (such as Motrin and Aleve), as well as Ginkgo and Ginseng.
  • Arnica montana or bromelain: Use of these herbal products for a few days before and a few days after surgery may limit bruising. Be sure to discuss the use of arnica montana or bromelain with Dr. Crawford or your personal plastic surgeon.
  • Avoid foods containing salicylates: These types of foods affect the blood and could increase bruising after surgery. Some foods that are high in salicylates include all types of berries, apricots, cherries, grapefruits, grapes, lemons, limes, peaches, plums, cucumbers, almonds, and vinegar.
  • Do not smoke: Smoking cigarettes prolong the healing process. To avoid a lengthy recovery period and reduce bruising, do not smoke for a few weeks before surgery.

Post-operative Tips to Reduce Bruising

  • Limit activity: Know your limits after plastic surgery. Many patients feel well enough to take short walks and move around a bit the day of or the day after surgery. Although this is encouraged, patients should abstain from moderate and heavy exercise, strenuous activity, and heavy lifting for four to six weeks after plastic surgery.
  • Elevate the head: Keeping the head inclined while you sleep is a good way to accelerate the recovery timeline. If you underwent surgery on the arms or legs, it is a good idea to keep them elevated for a few days after surgery as well.
  • Apply ice: Applying ice or a cold compress, especially in the two days after surgery, is one of the best ways to reduce bruising after surgery. If an icepack feels uncomfortable, try wrapping it in a soft blanket, or use a towel that has been soaked in ice water.
  • Drink plenty of water: Drinking at least eight cups of water each day will flush your system of toxins and promote a speedy recovery.

We invite prospective patients from the Atlanta area to contact Crawford Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation at our Marietta, Cartersville, or Hiram offices. During your appointment, Dr. Crawford will be happy to discuss the potential side effects of surgery so you know what to expect.


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