Do Arnica and Bromelain REALLY help with swelling or is it just hogwash?

Many of the women on the facelift forums say they took Arnica and Bromelain prior to their facelift to help with swelling. Others say their doctors told them that was nonsense and just to avoid salt, alcohol, too much sugar and anything that causes bleeding like Vit E, aspirin, Ibuprofen etc. SO: Do any doctors here think that Arnica/Brom actually work? I'm extremely skeptical about supplements and think they are mostly just nonsense.

Doctor Answers 23

Face lifts - do arnica and bromelain really help?

Thank you for asking about your facelift and the use of arnica and bromelain.
  • This is such an interesting question 
  • We don't have the final answer because no large studies have been done.
  • I have not seen these supplements reduce swelling.
  • Small studies suggest that they can reduce bruising making blood clot a little faster. 
  • Many people however see no effects.
  • And the people who find it useful often aren't people who bruise a lot anyhow. 
  • I let my patients decide - I don't recommend them but I carry arnica for those who want it and recommend fresh pineapple to those who want bromlein. .
  • Swelling after a face lift happens no matter what. I have seen a little battery-run facial massager dramatically reduce swelling in one patient 3 weeks after surgery. That is worth trying, with your surgeon's approval.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain

I do believe they help.  I have my patients take them 2 days before surgery and continue for a total of one week.  This in addition to stopping all medications/supplements that thins the blood really helps with post operative bruising.  If you have no contraindications to taking it I would. Best of luck to you

Milind K. Ambe, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain

Hello Nwmouse! - I have my patients take Arnica and Bromelain prior to surgery to help with bruising and swelling.  I do believe that it helps.  Arnica can be started the day before surgery or right after surgery.  The bromelain can be started 2-3 days before surgery.  Best of luck!

Jacqueline T. Cheng, MD
San Jose Facial Plastic Surgeon


Yes Arnica and Bromelin work in my opinion.  I sell Arnaca Supreme which is a mixture of Arnaca, bromelin, Vitamin C and grape seed .  This speeds up the healing process and provides optimal healing.  My patients definitely see a difference and I sell a lot of it.   I believe in it.  Bromelin is pineapple extract and that also helps the healing process.  Good luck!

Andrew T. Cohen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Does Arnica really help for swelling and bruising?

Some of my patients swear by it to cut the bruising and swelling time down.  Since it's homeopathic to stimulate healing, it doesn't hurt. We also recommend staying away from any blood thinning medications and alcohol prior to any injectable or surgery.  Be well!

Michael R. Macdonald, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Anecdotally, I have always strongly recommended Arnica and Bromolaine for Facelift and smartlipo procedures.

Anecdotally, I have always strongly recommended Arnica and Bromolaine for Facelift and smartlipo procedures, and those that use it faithfully starting the day after procedure and for 2 weeks thereafter seem to have less bruising and swelling. That being said, I  am very thorough with instructions of which supplements to discontinue along with the basics such as  no aspirin, NSAIDs etc, good icing, adequate compression.

Ritu Malhotra, MD
Cleveland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Arnica, Bromelain, and more

Its a great question.  To my knowledge, there has never been a definitive study proving that either Arnica or Bromelain improve healing time.    However, Arnica has been well known for several years, as is Bromelain, an extract from pineapples, which have been used extensively in the Hawaiin community.  I recommend using these, in addition to blueberry which are high in antioxidants, and papaya, which has an enzyme that may help swelling subside sooner. Why not?  There is no harm, reported adverse effects, and if they help you heal a few days quicker, that can go a long way in helping someone return to work/activity sooner.Hope this helps,  best of luck!

Michael J. Rodriguez, MD, FAACS
Plantation Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Arnica & Bromelain benefits

I find both can be helpful with bruising more than swelling. It's really a personal choice but neither are expensive and if they help even a little bit, why not?


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Does Arnica Work

Hi ~ Great question. There are so many supplements out there it can be hard to know which ones actually work! At our practice we do recommend Arnica Montana prior to many procedures. I feel it does help with bruising less so with swelling. It is also important to stop other supplements and medications that can increase your risk for bleeding. Good Luck!

Michael Hromadka, MD
Kalispell Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews


Consensus with respect to these homeopathic drugs is hard to come by.    Studies of these drugs may not achieve the gold standard of a double blinded study with appropriate controls.  However, with the information available, it does appear that these do help.  Best wishes, Dr. T.  

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.