Are There Things Than Can Speed Up the Recovery from Eyelid Surgery?

Is there a recommended diet, cream, vitamin and/or medication that could be taken before and after eyelid surgery to make the healing process efficient and quick?

Doctor Answers 16

Aftercare and Recovery from Blepharoplasty

Hi there.  

Things to have (or do) after surgery:  the list below is from one of the many written handouts provided to patients after facial surgery.  Hope this is helpful.  Best wishes.  

  • Ginger Ale or clear carbonated soda
  • Dry toast or crackers
  • Prepared foods that are low in sodium and spices
  • Extra pillows
  • Clean linens
  • Baby shampoo
  • Gentle cleanser
  • Mild Moisturizer
  • Fresh Pineapple and Mango (to help reduce bruising and swelling)
  • Ice, for cold compresses (do not apply ice cubes directly to the eyes)
  • Arnica Montana (not the cream or the gel)
  • Throat lozenges (if general anesthesia planned)
  • Have lots of fluids on hand

San Antonio Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Eyelid surgery involves soft tissues that normally move a lot, in a highly visible area.  For a "fast" recovery, you want to avoid visible bruising, and also like to decrease swelling.  Technically, your surgeon will do their best to minimize bleeding and will be gentle with the tissues to minimize swelling.  After surgery, your activities are the most important determinant as to how quickly you will recover.  For the first 48-72 hours, swelling will normally increase, so you should work to combat swelling by keeping your head elevated and using mild cold therapy (I prefer wash colths moistened in ice water - frost bite is not possible with this technique).  Bruising is related to blood at the time of surgery, or new amounts of small bleeding after surgery.  The highest risk period for bleeding is the first 2 days, so you should minimize motion during that time period.  Since the eyelids move every time you open your eyes, ideally you should lay back, relax and listen to music (or an audio book) for the first 2-3 days.  If you read or watch TV, the lids will be opening / closing and the eyeball will be moving (in the area where fat was removed), which can increase bruising. 

Other, non-motion/position related issues for bruising / swelling are related to diet.  To decrease swelling you should avoid salty foods.  For bruising - avoid fish oil / oil vitamins and certainly don't take aspirin!  I think that Arnica Montana and Bromelain do help with resolution of bruising / swelling, and recommend them to my patients (as long as there are no allergy issues).  Speak with your surgeon before adding anything to your post-operative regime.

Best regards,
Dr. B

Speeding Up Recovery Post Eyelid Surgery

The key is to keep your head elevated, limit your salt intake, eat a high protein diet, and use cold compresses for the first 5 days.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Are There Things Than Can Speed Up the Recovery from Eyelid Surgery?

Hello! Thank you for your question! The recommendations for the use of these homeopathic medications are surgeon preference. I typically suggest the use of Arnica Montana 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, and 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!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Things that may speed up the recovery from eyelid surgery

Thank you for your question.  Recovery can significantly differ from patients to patients, however a few things below are what I would advise my patients to do to help recovery, and make it more comfortable for them.

- Ensure you get adequate rest in the first 48 hours post procedure and ensure you are adequately hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.

- Avoid heavy lifting and bending over for 7 days post the procedure.

- Do sleep for the first 3 night with your head raised on a few pillows to prevent any further swelling

- Do use cold packs as a method of reducing any swelling.

- Do take paracetamol as required.

- Do shower the day after surgery although avoid the direct pressure of the water on your face/eyes.  You can wash your hair as normal and then use the hair dryer on a cool setting to dry the area around your eyes.  This help prevent any infection

- Soak sterile eye pads in witchazel and rest on eyes as often as possible, for first few days.

- Use Chloramphenicol ointment.  Drop ointment on inside lower lid and rotate eyeballs, to disperse over the eye.  This help minimise infection and moisten eyes. 

Speedy Recovery

There is not always a guaranteed speedy recovery with any surgery. However, there are guidelines and steps that I provide to my patients before surgery and typically at their consultation to be aware of the methods for optimum results. Below are the top points I would suggest for you to follow in order to ensure a great recovery. As always talk to your physician about any concerns and questions you may have. 

  • Correct any health problems prior to surgery especially blood pressure problems; in other-words be at your best health possible for surgery.
  • Eat a regular, well balanced diet
  • Take a multi-vitamin including iron and minerals daily prior to surgery
  • Two weeks prior to surgery stop medications that predispose you to bruising & bleeding. (i.e. Advil, fish oils) 
  • Make sure your physician knows all medications you are taking including any over the counter medication so he can assure there will be no adverse reactions.
  • If you have nausea or vomiting with prior surgery alert your physician or anesthesiologist so they can alter your medications to prevent the chance of nausea & vomiting after anesthesia.
  • It is advisable to sleep on your back with your head elevated at 45 degrees to minimize swelling. 
  • Refrain from any exercise or strenuous activity, typically for 4 weeks or as advised by your physician. 
  • Use a cold saline compress for the first 24 hours for comfort and to reduce swelling and bruising. 
  • Follow any further post op instructions from your surgeon & alert your him/her if you notice any problems right away.

Hope you have a wonderful upcoming recover! 

All the best, 

Dean Johnston, MD FACS 

Healing Process

Bromalaine and Arnika are 2 great herbal supplements we recommend taking beforehand and after procedure. These can be found at your local vitamin store. Also, head elevation and cold compresses really do make a big difference in how you heal after the procedure. 

Nicole Schrader, MD, FACS
Princeton Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Speedy Recovery From Eyelid Surgery - Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon and Follow Instructions

The most important thing you can do to have the fastest and best possible recovery from eyelid surgery is to select the right plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, and then carefully follow the instructions your surgeon provides. 
Having a healthy diet, being well hydrated and well-rested will help with your recovery. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Advice to speed up recovery

Since bruising and swelling are a reality for many patients that undergo a blepharoplasty procedure, I have outlined some recommendations below that I offer to my patients in the hopes of getting them back to their normal activities sooner.

1.  Avoidance of multivitamins, aspirin, aspirin containing products and/or blood thinners for 2 weeks before your blepharoplasty procedure.  With that said, if patients are currently on an aspirin or blood thinner regimen as per their medical doctor I recommend that they defer to their medical doctor before stopping any of these medications.
2.  Use of arnica and bromelain oral tablets (i.e. BruiseGuard) beginning 2-3 days before your surgery and for 4-5 days after.
3.  Head elevation for one week after your procedure.
4.  Cool compresses for 24-72 hours after your procedure.

With that said, I always recommend that patients defer to their operating surgeon to discuss any pre- and post-operative protocols.  I hope this helps and good luck!

Things that help healing after eyelid surgery

Eyelids have a wonderful blood supply.  For that reason, they heal quickly and very well compared to most parts of the body.  However, having the great blood supply does make the area prone to bruising and swelling after a procedure.  Most of our post procedure instructions are aimed at reducing the chance of bruising and swelling.  We instruct our patients to take if easy for about 4 days after surgery and to avoid strenuous activity for a week.  For the first few days it is best to rest, with your head a little elevated and to use frequent cool compresses.  It is also very important to avoid blood thinners like aspirin and Motrin for about two weeks before surgery and for the week after surgery (if your doctor has prescribed these medications, make sure it is advisable for you to take a break from these medications before you stop) .

The bottom line is that eyelids heal well.  With a little rest and care, healing after eyelid surgery should not be a problem.

Marc Cohen, MD
Philadelphia Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 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.