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Natural methods to reduce swelling after plastic surgery

Blog post - facial plastic surgery swelling before after

After upper eyelid surgery photographs, showing recovery one day and a few weeks after plastic surgery. Follow your plastic surgeon’s guidelines to reduce swelling and maximize recovery.

Plastic surgery patients should expect a certain degree of swelling (edema) after cosmetic surgery. Even non-surgical liquid lift patients with Botox® or Restylane® may have some swelling. Fortunately, swelling after plastic surgery usually resolves with time. Cosmetic surgery patients may proactively help reduce post-treatment swelling via a variety of natural methods.

We’ve reviewed rhinoplasty swelling in a previous post. Swelling after plastic surgery lasts for several months, even up to a year or longer, depending on multiple factors. Fortunately, a majority of the swelling resolves soon after plastic surgery. Typically, only the patient may notice residual swelling, as the area operated upon doesn’t normally draw attention from friends, family, or strangers after the initial healing period. Approximately 80% of the swelling resolves anywhere from about 4-6 weeks after surgery and continues to improve with time.

Plastic surgery swelling guidelines generally apply to most procedures, including face lift or eyelid surgery.

How to avoid plastic surgery swelling naturally

Essentially, anything that is generally good for your health is also good for your skin and helps reduce swelling after surgery. Follow the specific recovery guidelines of your plastic surgeon.

  • Focus on eating fresh fruits & vegetables
  • Maintain hydration by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water and juices
  • Keep the head elevated to allow gravity to reduce swelling
  • Consider taking certain herbal supplements, such as arnica montana and bromelain
  • Apply ice

What to avoid to minimize swelling after plastic surgery

Plastic surgery patients can also help minimize swelling by proactively avoiding the following, in consultation with their surgeon:

  • excess salt
  • processed foods or fast foods
  • spicy foods
  • most herbal teas and supplements
  • smoking and smoke exposure
  • blood thinning medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen

What are other methods to reduce plastic surgery swelling?

Rest is important in the initial recovery period. Plastic surgeons will recommend avoiding heavy activity or exercise for the first couple weeks.

Plastic surgeons may suggest a gentle compression dressing to the area, such as an elastic neck strap after liposuction. Once an appropriate amount of healing has occurred, then your plastic surgeon may also suggest massaging the area.

Lastly, swelling may be due factors other than the plastic surgery, such as allergies, thyroid condition, hormones, medication side-effect, or other medical conditions. As appropriate, plastic surgeons may prescribe a short course of medication to help alleviate swelling, such as steroid or diuretic pills. As always, speak to your plastic surgeon to determine methods to help reduce swelling that is appropriate for you.

The above photographs demonstrate typical swelling immediately after upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) and recovery by following plastic surgery recovery instructions.

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    Houtan Chaboki, M.D.