Any cosmetic surgery, procedure, or product has the potential to result in bruising, and skin discoloration. Luckily, most of this bruising is temporary and fades away in a few days or weeks. More extensive procedures may take longer to recover. What can one do to proactively minimize the bruising after cosmetic plastic surgery? To help have the best outcomes after plastic surgery, follow the basic guidelines below, whether you’re having a lunchtime cosmetic Botox injection, face lift, or a cosmetic rhinoplasty.
Avoid Blood Thinners
Makes sense, correct? But we are sometimes unaware that normal medications or herbs may cause bruising. Stop all aspirin and aspirin-like products such as ibuprofen for at least 2 weeks prior to your procedure. Avoid any herbal teas or medications which have blood thinning qualities such as St. John’s wort, ginko, ginger, garlic, ginseng, kava, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Your plastic surgeon will let you know when it’s ok to resume taking these products.
Elevate Your Head
Avoid lying flat or prone. Positioning your head on top of a few pillows, or elevated mattress top, will help reduce bruising, swelling, and pooling of blood in the area. Let gravity play a role in the healing process.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Crushed ice or cool compress help constrict the blood vessels and help prevent a bruise from spreading. Ice should not be directly on the skin. Use a soft cloth to help distribute the cooling effects of the ice to the skin. Ice and cool compresses are especially important within the first 2 days after cosmetic surgery.
No Strenuous Activity
Any activity which elevates your blood pressure or causes Valsalva effect may exacerbate and cause bruising, at worst even frank bleeding. Strenuous activities to avoid include, but are not limited to running, exercise, weight lifting, pilates, aerobics, cycling, climbing, and sex. Yoga should be avoided too. Patients should even avoid straining on the toilet! Your plastic surgeon will inform you when you can resume normal activity.
A homeopathic or alternative medicine approach to bruising, Arnica is available without prescription. Arnica helps alleviate dark, swollen bruises by apply a gel containing arnica every few hours over the affected area. Arnica has traditionally has been used for muscle aches, sprains, and bruises. Some may have a reaction to arnica. Discontinue use if the treated skin becomes red, itchy, or inflamed. Speak to your plastic surgeon before starting arnica, as it is not allowed at all for some cosmetic procedures.