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 12


Hello! Thank you for your question! The recommendations for the use of these homeopathic medications are surgeon preference. I typically suggest use Arnica to decrease swelling and bruising. It is an herbal medication that is propagated from the seeds of an herb. I, as well as my patients, have seen some benefit with the treatment in the postoperative period. Although there is little evidence to its effectiveness, I believe there is some benefit, but no harm. I recommend 4-5 tablets under the tongue 4x/day for 3-5 days prior and 5-7 days after the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Supplements for Surgery

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

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 99 reviews

Arnica and postoperative bruising

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Arnica and bromelain

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. 

Shim Ching, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Does Arnica and Bromelain really work?

This is are hard question to answer.  Some surgeons swear by it, some see little effect.  By far, however, the surgical technique is what causes more or less bruising, but sometimes this can't be helped.  I have not seen hard data one way or the other.  Bottom line, it doesn't seem to cause a problem, so I don't have a problem if my patients use it.

Best Wishes,

Pablo A. Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain with breast surgery

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain?

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. 

Arnica and Bromelain After Breast Augmentation?

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

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

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

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.