Visit any forum on plastic surgery, and you’re sure to hear patients encouraging each other to use certain herbal supplements to promote better healing after their procedure. How valid are these claims, and do most board certified plastic surgeons recommend taking non-prescription aids or applying topical creams during recovery?
Benefits of Supplements
There are two supplements that are often mentioned for patients to use following plastic surgery:
- Arnica – Arnica is purported to relieve swelling and prevent bleeding when applied topically, plus decrease inflammation and prevent muscle soreness (for example, if taken before a vigorous workout). This herb can also be taken orally.
- Bromelain – Extracted from pineapple enzymes, this supplement is supposed to help prevent post-operative blood clots, decrease pain and inflammation and even help improve digestion and liver function.
These two herbs are often taken together. In fact, a product called Bruise-Stick™ is a topical application that combines both arnica and bromelain.
Herbal supplements are not only peer-recommended, but some surgeons may also steer their patients toward these treatments. While this may seem like a strong endorsement in and of itself, it’s important to remember a few key details to keep in mind before rushing to the health food store:
- Herbal medications are not standardized or regulated in the United States.
- There have been no double-blind clinical trials proving the efficacy of these supplements.
- Non-regulated supplements may react in unexpected ways with prescribed medications, so you should always let your doctor and pharmacist know your medication regimen.
As always, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any aspect of your recovery, and that includes whether to stock up on arnica or bromelain before your procedure.
Dr. Glenn M Davis knows that not every patient has the same goals, and applies his years of experience and extensive education to create results that are personal and natural. Focusing mainly on facial plastic surgery procedures in the Raleigh, NC area, Dr. Davis also offers a selection of enhancements for the body and breasts, including abdominoplasty, liposuction, and combination breast lift and augmentation.
Dr. Davis received his medical doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and trained in general surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. After refining and focusing his surgical technique in a plastic surgery residency at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk, VA, Dr. Davis developed his skills as Assistant Chief of Plastic Surgery at the National Naval Medical Center. Dr. Davis is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is committed to utilizing the most up-to-date and successful techniques for each of his patients, and serves in leadership roles in multiple local and national plastic surgery organizations. A past president of 3 medical surgical organizations including the Raleigh Academy of Medicine, Dr. Davis has also chaired a number of committees for the American Society of Plastic surgeons, and continues to serve as Clinical Associate PRofessor of Plastic Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.