Bruising and swelling occur with almost every surgical procedure. Usually, the swelling lasts for only a few days to weeks. In a few procedures such as liposuction, and rhinoplasty the final swelling can last for a year after surgery. There are several measures that can be taken to minimize swelling.
- Surgical technique – Precise surgery with cautery of fine vessels and maintenance of tissue planes is important and has a remarkable effect on recovery
- Herbal medications – Arnica Montana (SinEcch) is an herbal medication that has been shown to decrease postoperative bruising and swelling. It is taken before and after surgery. The benefit is mild
- Compression – Compression garments are important after liposuction and are worn for 6-8 weeks. The first stage garment is worn for the first 1-2 weeks followed by a more comfortable garment thereafter. Occasionally, Dr. Yates will place memory foam beneath compression garments to help distribute pressure from the garment.
- Massage – Lymphatic drainage massage can decrease inflammation and swelling after liposuction. Massage of areas of scar build-up can improve tissue quality.
- Ice – most valuable after facial procedures such as facelift and eyelid surgery. Use ice packs, facial compresses or frozen peas for approximately 10-20 minutes each hour. Most valuable for the first 24-48 hours. Some patients report improvement in pain and swelling for other procedures such as breast augmentation.
- Avoid anticoagulants including – aspirin, Vitamin E, garlic, ginger, ginseng, Ginko Biloba, and St. John’s wort for 1-4 weeks after surgery.
- Avoid excess salt intake and alcohol.
- Don’t overdo it – follow your postoperative instructions for your specific procedure.
- Patience – it is important that all swelling and bruising eventually goes away.