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Injectable Fillers, Face, Nonsurgical

6 Ways to Prevent Bruising After Injectable Filler Treatment

For patients considering injectable filler treatments, minimal recovery time can significantly add to the appeal. Dermal fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm, and Radiesse are all effective, non-surgical ways of significantly reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

While it may take between one to two weeks to see the full results of your treatment, the injections can be performed on a lunch break from work. Alternatively, patients who undergo a facelift often require two weeks of intensive recovery at home.

Why Injectable Filler Treatments?

If you have a busy schedule, a limited budget, and time constraints for noticeable improvement to your appearance, injectable filler treatment may be the right option to achieve your goal of looking younger and more vibrant. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons writes that common patient goals associated with dermal filler treatment include:

  • Plumping the appearance of thin lips
  • Improving natural facial contours
  • Reducing recessed facial scars
  • Softening facial creases, fine lines, and wrinkles

Ultimately, fillers can represent a minimally invasive way to combat the first signs of aging, which can include noticeable lines on the face. However, filler treatment can carry the side effect of bruising, which can last for a week or slightly longer after treatment.

Many patients ask us how to minimize bruising from injectible fillers to ensure minimal interruption to daily life. Fortunately, there are many steps patients can take before and after their injection treatment to minimize noticeable bruising. In this article, you'll learn six Plastic Surgeon-approved ways to ensure you avoid visible bruising to the greatest extent possible.

1. Avoid Certain Supplements and Medications

Certain supplements and medications can increase bruising. Plastic Surgeons typically recommend that patients cease taking these two weeks prior to treatment. It's critical to honestly report to your physician any medications or supplements you take on a daily or occasional basis.

Often, patients are advised to avoid the following:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Motrin
  • Naproxen
  • Vitamin E
  • Fish Oil
  • CoQ10
  • Flaxseed Oil

Should you suffer from headaches or other minor pain during the two weeks prior to treatment, acetaminophen that isn't mixed with any NSAIDS such as Tylenol is permissible.

If you are taking aspirin or other supplements at the recommendation of your primary care physician, be sure to discuss this factor in treatment planning with a prospective plastic surgeon. Based on your medical records and goals, they can recommend the best course of action for your needs.

2. Eliminate Alcohol

While you are most likely fine to responsibly consume alcohol in the weeks leading up to your treatment, your plastic surgeon will most likely recommend that you avoid beer, wine, and hard liquor the night before your treatment. You will also be advised to avoid drinking until any swelling or bruising that results from dermal fillers has resolved.

Alcohol, even in small doses, can have a significant impact on a patient's blood vessels. It's known as a "vasodilator," which means it can enlarge the size of blood vessels, making patients more susceptible to bruising during treatment if it has been consumed within 24 hours of the treatment. Individuals who suffer from alcoholism may also have impaired white blood cell production, which can increase the likelihood of infection or slow healing.

3. Take Arnica

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy derived from a "daisy-like mountain flower" that is commonly used by holistic practitioners to treat bruising, muscle soreness, and other minor issues. Taking arnica pills for 4 days prior to your treatment and 4 days after may reduce your bruising. We recommend that patients place four homeopathic pills with 30x dilution under their tongue, twice a day.

Bromelain is another natural remedy that can be used to reduce swelling and bruising and can be taken for three days prior to treatment. This ingredient is derived from pineapple enzymes and has successfully been used to treat inflammation for centuries. If you are seeking injectable filler treatments at the office of Dr. Larry Fan, both of these natural remedies are available for purchase during your consultation. Alternatively, they can be sourced from most natural foods or health stores.

4. Use a Cold Compress

For one to two days after your treatment, regular application of a cold compress can reduce pain, swelling, and bruising that may result from dermal fillers. We recommend that patients rinse a washcloth in ice water or wrap an ice pack with a thin cloth. Avoid applying ice directly to the skin as it can cause discomfort or frostbite.

Cold compress therapy is among the most commonly-recommend, non-invasive methods of treating minor discomfort, bruising, or muscle aches. By slowing blood flow to an affected area, patients can immediately minimize the appearance of swelling and prevent bruise progression. To implement this treatment in your dermal filler recovery, apply a cold compress to the treated area for 15 minutes, 3-4 times each day. Depending on your needs and preference, cold compress therapy may be used for 1-2 days after treatment.

5. Elevate your Head

Many patients prefer to sleep and rest with their heads slightly elevated for two to four days after treatment. While there are no official restrictions against lying flat in the days following injectable dermal filler treatments, many plastic surgeons recommend sleeping elevated as a defense mechanism against bruising.

Elevating your head can minimize blood flow to treated areas, which can reduce swelling and visible bruising. You don't need to sleep in an uncomfortable seated position for this method to have an impact. Simply propping your head up a bit further in bed with an extra pillow or two could make a significant difference.

6. Avoid Vigorous Activity

While many patients return to work or other normal activities immediately after injectable filler treatments, it's definitely not wise to head straight from your plastic surgeon's office to the gym for a workout. Your plastic surgeon will recommend that you limit physical activity for approximately four hours after treatment and avoid vigorous exercise until swelling has subsided.

It's also recommended that patients avoid exposure to extreme temperatures except in the context of physician-recommended hot or cold compress treatments. Using a sauna, steam room, or heading to Bikram yoga class can put an unnecessary strain on healing tissues. Until your swelling subsides from injectable filler treatment, it's wisest to use the opportunity to focus on resting and recovery.

Minimizing After-Effects

Ultimately, no two patients seeking dermal fillers have the same lifestyle, goals, or treatment plan. Consultation with a high-qualified plastic surgeon is the best way to determine how you should plan to adjust your habits in the days before and after your injectable filler treatment. An expert surgeon will be able to make specific recommendations on supplementation, natural remedies, and adjustments to your fitness routine to ensure you have the smoothest recovery process possible.

To learn more about non-surgical approaches to restoring a youthful facial appearance click here. To learn about Dr. Larry Fan's injectable filler treatments go here.

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About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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