Plastic Surgery and Bruising: What to Expect

By Sheryl Pilcher on April 06, 2017

A woman pinching the skin of her thighMany people who wish for a more streamlined, attractive physique turn to body contouring to achieve their goals. When considering body contouring treatments, or any plastic surgery procedure, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects. One of the most common side effects after plastic surgery is bruising. Although bruises are generally expected, there are steps patients and surgeons can take to minimize the appearance of bruises. Find out more about plastic surgery and bruising by scheduling a consultation with San Antonio, TX plastic surgeon Sheryl Pilcher.

Why Do Bruises Occur?

Although plastic surgeons take steps to reduce bleeding and minimize bruising, it is common to have some bruising after plastic surgery. Bruises occur when the blood vessels are injured. The blood vessels may be injured from the incisions being made within the tissues, as well as the tissues being pulled and manipulated.

When the blood vessels are injured, they bleed into the surrounding tissue. This collection of blood within the tissue is responsible for the color of bruises, as it turns the skin purple, red, or black.

How Long Does Bruising Last?

Bruising after plastic surgery generally fades within a week or two. However, it may take more or less time based on the personal healing times of each patient combined with the extent of surgery, amount of trauma, and post-operative care.

As the bruise fades and the tissues heal, the bruise will change colors. Bruises often start off as a red color that will deepen to purple, black, or blue within a day or two. After about a week, the bruise will begin to fade by turning green or yellow in color. After about two weeks, the bruise will further fade to a light brown color, eventually fading away completely.

Tips to Reduce Bruising

Following these tips can help reduce the appearance of bruising after plastic surgery.

  • Apply ice packs: Applying a cold ice pack to the affected area will help constrict blood vessels, which helps to stop bleeding. Ice should be applied for the first two to three days following surgery.
  • Elevate the affected area: Elevating the bruised area can help reduce bruising by decreasing bleeding and swelling.
  • Apply compression: Applying pressure also helps stop bleeding to further reduce the appearance of bruises. After surgery, compression garments, bandages, or medical tape may be applied by your surgeon to help stop bleeding and reduce bruising.
  • Foods high in Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps reduce bleeding and can help prevent bruising. Eating foods high in Vitamin K, like kale and spinach, after surgery may reduce the appearance of bruising.
  • Avoid certain medications: Certain medications, like NSAIDS and anticoagulants, can increase the risk of bruising. However, medications should not be stopped or changed without discussing with a doctor.
  • Take bruise reducing supplements: Taking certain supplements, including arnica montana and bromelain, can help reduce bruising, but should only be taken upon doctor approval.

Schedule a Consultation

For answers to your questions about bruising after plastic surgery, or any other concerns, you're welcome to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pilcher.

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San Antonio Office

255 E Sonterra Blvd
Ste 201
San Antonio, TX 78258

More Info Directions (210) 654-9900