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How to minimize bruises from facial procedures

The band Train was wrong: bruises can make for awkward conversation!

Any invasive facial procedure risks bruising; in general, the risk increases along with the invasiveness of the procedure. Bruising occurs when a small amount of blood leaks from your blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. For injectable treatments, the bruising is usually minimal and localizes to the injection sites. For surgical procedures, bruising can be more substantial.

Some bruising is avoidable; some isn’t. Fortunately, several specific steps can be taken before, during, and after a procedure to help to minimize bruising.

Before a procedure:
– Minimize alcohol use for a week prior to your procedure. Alcohol makes platelets less sticky – platelets help your blood clot, so less sticky platelets make you prone to bleeding and bruising.
– Avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen for a week. All these medicines interfere with platelet function and increase the risk of bruising just like alcohol does.
– If you take dietary supplements or herbal medications, be aware that these may increase your risk of bleeding and bruising. The usual suspects are Vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, fish oil, and Omega 3 fatty acids. When in doubt, talk to your surgeon!
– You can start taking Arnica Montana caplets the day before your procedure. While scientific literature isn’t clear on its true benefits, it may help prevent bruising and is generally very safe and well tolerated. You can usually find it in health food stores or online.

During a procedure:
Honestly, there’s not much that you, the patient, can do to prevent bruising. I always take my time to stop any bleeding as soon as it starts. I have a few other methods, too, but those are trade secrets!

After a procedure:
-Try to keep your head elevated. For injectables, this is really only important for the first twelve to twenty-four hours following your treatment. After facial surgery, we recommend head elevation for at least a week.
Dressings help put pressure on operative areas to minimize swelling and bruising. Rhinoplasty and facelift patients can expect to have a dressing for at least a week.
– Strenuous activity increases your blood pressure and can lead to bruising early in the healing process. I always want my patients up and active as soon after surgery as is reasonable. However, you need to be smart about it. Taking a walk is a good idea, but don’t lift heavy weights or run a marathon.

Despite taking all of these precautions, we can never guarantee that you won’t get a bruise following a facial procedure. Usually these bruises are small and can be hidden with makeup, but be sure to sync your procedure with your social calendar to avoid putting potential bruises on display. For surgical procedures, we recommend allowing at least three weeks to recover prior to attending a major event. Otherwise, you may end up the topic of some awkward conversations!

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