Can Topical Magnesium Aid in Reducing Swelling After Surgery?

Things are moving along but by end of day I'm so swollen. I can't seem to reduce the swelling significantly. I remember my mother always found an epsom salt bath useful when she had swollen feet or bad arthritis pain. Can this, with massage, make any difference? Natural products seem safe, and I see products with magnesium and arnica out there. Do they work?

Doctor Answers 8

Topical magnesium


There is no clinical evidence that topical magnesium will aid with wound healing or reducing swelling.  I do not think there is any harm in applying it or having an Epsom salts bath.


Stephen Salerno


Swelling is not uncommon after a tummy tuck and typically lasts quite a while. 80% has resolved by 3 months and the rest takes up to a year to resolve. You have to be patient with the healing process.Enjoy your new look!Sheila Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Swelling after Gynecomastia Surgery?

Thank you for the question. Although your concerns are understandable, your best friends at this point will be patience and time. Other maneuvers for improved incision line healing, such as massage, tape, application of silicone-based products etc. may all be helpful;  best to discuss with your plastic surgeon what his/her recommendations are.

Best wishes; hopefully you will be pleased with the long-term outcome of the procedure performed.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Topical Magnesiu

There is no evidence to suggest that topical magnesium works to reduce swelling.  Arnica Montana can help but only for the first week or two following surgery.  Bromelain can also help.

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Topical magnesium and swelling

I am not aware of the use of topical magnesium for swelling.  Soaking in Epsom salts may soothe the skin but will not relieve deeper tissue swelling.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Healing After Surgery

 Topical Magnesium has no effect on healing swollen tissue.  Follow your Plastic Surgeon's post op instructions for your best result.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Healing after surgery

The greatest is healer after surgery is Mother Nature and time.  Magnesium and arnica don't hurt, but add nothing.  You can do things to hurt yourself after surgery and these may hinder your healing but there is no way know to medical science to speed up wound healing.  In addition there is a little variance between people and ages but amazingly enough not much.    We all heal very similar and in a very similar time frame.   Things that delay and hurt healing are  excessive activity, excessive heat and sunburn,  irritating abrasive chemicals,  smoking,  excessive alcohol,  recreational drugs, not taking your prescribed prescriptions for your thyroid, and any thing the causes illness.   Good things for healing include rest. .............. A wound at rest heals best (LD Howard, MD),..................., appropriate gentle activity to prevent pneumonia and blood clots, no stress on the wound, taking one multiple vitamin daily, eating a good healthy diet, not getting constipated, not getting nauseated, taking all your prescription medication for thyroid and diabetes, etc.   There are many people getting wealthy with this or that concoction and some really take a hold such as arnica.  I do not believe a word of it and after 30 years in practice I firmly believe I am correct with the above concepts.  My Best,  Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Topical magnesium does not help postoperative swelling after mommy makeover.

I'm not sure where you got this bit of information but application of magnesium to swollen area will have no effect on swelling.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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