Minimizing Bruising and Swelling
Bruising and swelling is an unfortunate occurrence 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 last bit of swelling can last for a year after surgery. There are several measures that can be taken to minimize swelling.
- Surgical technique – Dr. Yates does not frequently use the electrocoagulator (Bovie) to cut tissue. This decreases thermal damage to the tissue which can increase swelling. Gentle handling of tissues helps to limit bruising and swelling.
- Herbal medications – Arnica Montana (SinEcch) is an herbal medication that has been shown to decrease postoperative bruising and swelling. This medication is started before surgery for best effect. Dr. Yates frequently uses this in large volume liposuction and facelifts.
- Compression – Compression garments are extremely 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 smaller and tighter garment after the initial swelling has decreased.
- 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.
- Avoid anticoagulants including – aspirin, Vitamin E, garlic, ginger, ginseng, ginko biloba and St. John’s wort for 1-4 weeks after surgery. Most of the herbal medications that increase bleeding start with the letter “G”.
- Avoid excess salt intake and alcohol.
- Don’t over do it – follow your postoperative instructions for your specific procedure.