Bruising is one of the most common side effects of plastic surgery. Because blood vessels are broken, cut, and disturbed during any surgery, the patient is likely to experience at least minor bruising. In general, this is no cause for concern, but it can be unsightly and uncomfortable for some patients.
Coloration of Bruises in the Weeks after Surgery
Bruises are generally thought of as just black and blue, but in reality, they come in a range of colors and change colors as the body heals the surrounding area. The color of a patient’s bruise can act as an indicator of how well the body is healing itself. For example, a very dark red and blue bruise is most likely to occur right after surgery, and indicates fresh blood in the area. The bruise is then likely to turn dark blue, as the blood loses its oxygen. A yellow or green bruise, with only a few hints of blue or red left in it is indicative of a wound that is almost done healing.
How to Reduce Bruising
Though bruising is a normal part of the surgical and healing process, their appearance can be frustrating to patients, as it makes it difficult to view the surgical results. Most patients will want to hurry the process along; fortunately, there are actually quite a few ways to speed the healing of bruises, and even to reduce the amount of bruising that occurs.
Arnica usually comes in a cream or gel and can be spread across the bruised area. This solution actually helps to reduce both the swelling and inflammation that can come along with bruises, and to help heal the area so that the bruise will dissipate rapidly.
Ice can help to eliminate the drastic discoloration that often comes along with most bruises. Bruising is caused by blood particles leaking from broken blood vessels, and the cold helps to restrict those blood vessels until the blood can clot and heal the vessels.
After the use of a cold compress for the 48 hours following surgery, a warm compress can help to stimulate blood flow again. Though some people believe this may worsen the bruise, it actually allows the blood to clear out the particles that have been deposited by the broken vessels. However, a warm compress should not be used until at least 48 hours to 72 hours after surgery.
Painkillers can help to reduce not only the pain that is associated with bruising, but also the bruising itself. Taking an anti-inflammatory could help to lessen the pain and to reduce the appearance of the bruise in a timely manner, as well as help to prevent a large bruise from forming.
Elevate the Bruise
One of the best ways to help the leftover blood drain out of the wounded area is to elevate the area that has been traumatized by the surgery. This may not be possible at all times, but if the patient can elevate the area for as much time as possible, he or she can greatly reduce the severity of the bruising and shorten the bruise’s cycle.
To schedule a plastic surgery consultation, contact the practice of Dr. John R. Griffin.