Heat or Cold to Decrease Swelling After Plastic Surgery?

Is it better to apply heat or cold to decrease swelling after plastic surgery?

Doctor Answers 2

So I apply heat or cold to my wounds?

This really depends on the timing. Be cautious with extremes of either hot or cold. Generally, we recommend that patients use cold for the first 48-72 hours after a procedure to diminish swelling. Typically this is also performed with compression, rest and elevation. After that time some plastic surgeons institute warm compresses to promote circulation to the area. This is all based on the premise that the major period of inflammation following injury occures in the first 4 days.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Heat or Cold to Decrease Swelling After Plastic Surgery?

  Your surgeon will always be your best resource when it comes to postoperative care questions. Some surgeons have very strong opinions... If you do decide to use either modality of ice or heat, please be sure that you do not place them directly on the skin and potentially “burn” the skin, which may be numb.
Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,502 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.