How to minimize bruising following any surgery or a nonsurgical procedure

By: Dr. Lawrence Iteld


Yes, bruising is always a possibility whenever you have a procedure. Whether you’ve had surgery, a minimally invasive procedure, or nonsurgical treatments, the ways to minimize bruising are essentially the same.

Before your treatment or surgery

Minimizing bruising begins before you have any procedure. Let’s start with looking at the medications you currently take. You’ll want to stop some prior to your procedure or treatment. Talk with us. Let us know if you’re taking a blood thinner. Even aspirin and ibuprofen can make bruising much worse. Typically, it’s safe to discontinue these medications before and after your procedure. But before you make that decision, talk with us!! The times differ for injectables versus surgery.

Did you know that common OTC medications and natural supplements can also thin your blood? These include: 

  • NSAIDs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen 
  • Anticoagulants like Heparin or Warfarin 
  • St John’s Wort 
  • Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 
  • Fish Oil/Omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Gingko Biloba 
  • Ginseng 
  • Garlic capsules 
  • Green tea 
  • Krill oil 
  • Flaxseed oils 
  • Turmeric

Note: If you have a pre-existing medical condition that requires you to take any medications and especially an anticoagulant, you should always discuss with your doctors before undergoing any treatment.

We’ll review whatever medications and supplements you take to determine your best course of action.

After your surgery or nonsurgical treatment

Most bruising goes away on its own after one to two weeks. Good news, there are ways to minimize the bruising and speed up healing if some has occurred. Here are a few important tips: 

  • Apply a cold compress. Following surgery, for the first 24 – 48 hours, apply ice packs 20 minutes on/off. After injectables or fillers, use cold compresses intermittently for the first 8 hours of treatment to help reduce bruising or swelling. If you find ice packs too cold, just wrap them in a cloth napkin or thin towel. 
  • Alcohol’s a no no. Since alcohol is a vasodilator (meaning it opens your blood vessels and allows more blood to flow), even a small about can increase bruising. It’s best to stop drinking a week or so before a surgical procedure or a few days before a nonsurgical treatment, and wait to drink afterwards. 
  • Elevation is your friend. For surgeries, you’ll want to keep the treated area elevated as much as possible. This reduces bruising by preventing blood from pooling in the treated area. If you had a facial procedure, elevate your head by stacking pillows or using a bed wedge. For nonsurgical treatments, sleep with your head elevated by propping it up with extra pillow(s) for at least the first night.

Post-surgery hints:  

  • Avoid hot showers. 
  • Wear your compression garment, as instructed 
  • Take Arnica as recommended before and after your surgery 
  • Start using an ice roller 2-3x a day over bruised areas as soon as possible after surgery, avoiding any incision sites 
  • Post nonsurgical hints:  
  • Take Arnica starting right after your treatment 
  • Limit physical activity 
  • No touching, please

Talk with us about available procedures

The decision to have either surgery or nonsurgical treatments is always a personal one. That’s why we are here to answer your questions and help you decide what’s right for you. Please contact our experienced patient coordinators at [email protected]  or call 312.757.4505  to schedule your confidential consultation.

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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.