Arnica and Bromelain? Why Are People Using These for Breast Augmentation Recovery? What's It Do?

I am going through BA consults and will be having surgery in May...I have been reading about people suggesting the use of arnica and bromelain. What do they do? Also arnica gel or pills...difference? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 13

Arnica and bromelain

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Arnica and bromelain are used to reduce swelling and bruising after surgery.  The risk associated with these substances is minimal and in our practice we have seen a reduction in swelling and bruising for our patients.  This reduces the pain and discomfort after surgery and speeds up their recovery.  Since the risk and cost are minimal, we recommend the use of these supplements after surgery to help our patients.

Thank you for your question. 

Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain with breast surgery

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Arnica and Bromelain are natural herbal remedies for swelling and bruising.  You can get them in any health food store without a prescription.  They are reputed to help decrease swelling and bruising after surgery, especially facial surgery.  Whether or not they really do anything is subject to opinion.  Personally, I don't think they do much but I don't discourage my patients from using them.  Who knows?  Bruising isn't usually an issue with breast augmentation surgery for me anyway.  Still, If you are planning to use these, it is generally recommended that you start using them two days before your planned procedure. 

Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain Supplements

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I suggest to my patients beginning supplements such as  bromelain or arnica a week or two before their procedure(s). However, its best to consult with your board-certified Plastic Surgeon beforehand. She or he will make suggestions according to your procedure and medical records in addition to discussing your pre-op preparations. Also, such may be provided for you with your pre-op material and prescriptions in time for your recovery period. You will learn more about preparing at your pre-op appointment. 

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Supplements for Surgery

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Omega 3 fats (e.g. fish oil, EFA, flax seed oil, Krill oil), NSAID's (aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn), Vitamin E, "blood thinners" and a whole host of supplements and medicines can cause excessive bleeding and bruising and therefore increase your recovery time. When in doubt stay away from supplements unless they are designed for surgery. I offer to my patients specific supplements that speed healing, reduce swelling, bruising and in some cases minimize discomfort (for example Bromelain, Arnica Montanum, and Vitamins designed for surgery.

Bottom Line: Certain vitamins and minerals can speed healing others can cause problems and slow the process down or cause complications. If healing is going well I usually let my patients go back to their usual regimen of supplements

Arnica and postoperative bruising

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Arnica is a homeopathic product which is used to prevent bruising postoperatively.  It is commonly sold as Bruisegard, by the same company that produces Scarguard and Solarguard, two excellent products.  However, while  some scientific studies suppport its effectiveness, most do not.  There are no known serious side effects, so there is generally no harm in taking it.

Gregory Diehl, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon

Arnica and Bromelain?

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It is unclear if these products do much to cut down on bruising and ease recovery. Of the surgeons who suggest these products, most note that it helps in facial procedures and perhaps in liposuction, but not particularly in breast surgery where there is usually not much in the way of bruising.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Arnica and Bromelain After Breast Augmentation?

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These medications are used in an effort to reduce postoperative swelling/bruising.  For the majority of patients undergoing breast augmentation surgery, significant bruising/swelling is not an issue;   therefore the majority of my patients elect not to use these medications.

 Best wishes.

Breast augmentation

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These are said to reduce bruising, but I am not aware of any well designed scientific study that  substantiates the claims. I do not think they will do any harm, but I doubt the benefit is worth the money you pay for them.

Arnica and Bromelain for Breast Augmentation

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  Arnica and Bromelain have been suggested to reduce postoperative bruising.  Arnica pills are fine.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Arnica and Bromelain for Surgery

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I agree with Dr. Soler in that there is some evidence that suggests that arnica and bromelain can help post operative bruising.  Frankly there should be very little to no bruising after breast augmentation so I don't recommend it for this.  I do put my facial cosmetic patients on it as there tends to be some bruising with eyelid surgery and facelifts.  It probably won't hurt so it's up to you whether you want to use it or not.

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.