Bruising is caused when blood escapes from a broken blood vessel, a common occurrence during facial plastic surgery. Part of minimizing bruising after surgery starts before surgery. It’s important to avoid foods and medications that thin the blood and impair proper platelet function, such as aspirin, gingko, ginseng, garlic and alcohol, to name a few. Taking the right peri-operative supplements, such as Arnica, Bromelain and vitamin K, can help to reduce post-operative bruising.
Immediately following surgery, applying ice to the affected areas, 20 minutes on/20 minutes off, will help to limit the swelling and bruising. The head should be kept elevated, sleeping on 2-3 pillows, to limit excess blood flow to the area. Strenuous activity is to be avoided. Bruising after surgery will usually manifest in 24-48 hours, and once it does the ice packs should be discontinued and warm compresses used instead. The warm compresses help to dilate the blood vessels and help deliver immune cells to the area to speed healing.
With this regimen, most bruising should be significantly improved in the first post-operative week. Residual bruising can be treated with a pulsed-dye laser, which helps promote the clearance of the remaining pigment.