Bromelain And/or Arnica Before Surgery?

I'm having revision lower blepharoplasty next month. I had bruising for 6 weeks after the first surgery. Do you recommend Bromelain and/or Arnica before surgery as well as after? My Dr. seemed somewhat indifferent to there use. If I do take these herbs, how much and when should I start taking it? I really don't want to be in hiding for another six weeks!

Doctor Answers 26

Reduce Swelling after Eyelid Surgery

The eyelids are notorious for bruising and swelling. If a movie wants to convey that an actor has been in a fight, the first make-up applied is that for a black eye.

For eyelid surgery, 4 main treatments exist for minimizing bruising, but unfortunately no "silver bullet" prevents completely.  The first is starting Bromelain & Arnica prior to surgery.  (A few studies in the medical literature show improvement but admittedly others show no difference).  The second is largely out of your control and involves surgical technique.  The third treatment is 48 hours of post-operative icing.  Ice remains one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents, and I advise a maximum of 30 minutes every hour.  After that period, transitioning to warm packs also helps. The fourth treatment for facial bruising that is remarkably effective is a Pulse-Dye laser.  It will not erase the bruise but it can fade it significantly and speed the rate at which it disappears.

Best of luck in your recovery.


Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Arnica for Blepharoplasty

Arnica pills when taken starting the day before surgery and after surgery until any possible bruises are gone will reduce bruising and make them go away faster if you get any. Arnica cream afterwards helps as well if needed. Also avoid aspirin and ibuprofen for 10 days prior to surgery.

Michael Horn, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Arnica for surgery

I recommend Arnica Montana and Bromelain Before and After Surgery
Bromelain is a botanical extract with natural anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties. It can help decrease inflammation, swelling and pain that often accompany a surgical procedure.
Arnica Montana has been touted as causing decreased bruising, swelling and pain associated with surgery or soft tissue injury. with our homeopathic Arnica Montana.
For a thorough explanation of the beneficial effects of Bromelain, see the below link to an article I wrote on the subject
The optimal dosage is not known. I would recommend purchasing it from a company that specializes in pre-surgical medicines such as Vitamedica. You can contact my office if you are not able to find it elsewhere.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Arnica Before Blepharoplasty

I routinely recommend Arnica before and after surgery.  This can be purchased at most pharmacies, over the counter.  There are instructions with the medication of when it should be taken and should be started the evening before surgery.  So, don't look at the package the morning of surgery because it may already be too late.  Remember that these medications are herbal and not FDA approved.  So, the studies demonstrating effectiveness are not great.  I have attached a link to a patient who is one week out from a lower blepharoplasty (and facelift/browlift, lip augmentation) that I consider a normal, expected amount of bruising after having taken Arnica. 

John Bitner, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Arnica Forte and Bromelin Control Bruising in Blepharoplasty

While preparing for surgery, I do recommend that patients begin taking the herbal supplements Arnica Forte and Bromelin at least two weeks beforehand. These herbs can help prevent excessive swelling and bruising after surgery. I also recommend discontinuing blood-thinning agents, such as aspirin, alcohol, fish oil and multivitamins, for at least two weeks before the surgery and several weeks afterward. I hope this helps.

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain before surgery! #vitamedica #bromelain #arnica

Great question?  We have supplements that our patients take two weeks before surgery and two weeks after.  Vitamedica  was designed by an anesthesiologist to help prepare the body before surgery and after surgery.  Just the right ingredients are used for optimal healing before and after your cosmetic procedure.  I highly recommend these vitamins to my patients and find that their recovery time has been reduced significantly.

Brett E. Stompro, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Herbal supplements for bruising

The is no hard evidence that any over-the-counter products have any benefit for post-operative bruising. There is probably no harm either, so I let patients know about Arnica and other supplements. I think the most important steps to diminish bruising following surgery are cold compresses for 3 days and keeping the head elevated for 1 week. 

James R. Gordon, MD, FACS, FAAO
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 132 reviews

Bromelain And/or Arnica Before Surgery?

 There certainly are measures, to take, pre-operatively that decrease the bruising from a Rhinoplasty or Eyelid Surgery.  Avoid Vit C, E, Fish Oil, Niacin, Zinc and all other know blood thinners.  Arnica 12-C is what we recommend for our surgical patients to limit bruising.  

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Pineapple works great to reduce bruising

Dear Gwen,

    I perfrom oculoplastic eyelid surgery exclusively.  I ask my patients to start eating at least a cup of fresh pineapple starting three days before surgery and to keep it up for a few days after surgery.  Pineapple contains Bromelain.  Most of my patients have very little bruising at their 1 week follow up appointments.  Of course, you are now having revisional surgery which may be a little more complex and with scar tissue, may cause more brusing.  Of course, keep your head elevated for 1-2 weeks after, ice as much as you can the first couple of days, and avoid any strenuous activity.

Good luck and I hope this helps!

Jasmine Mohadjer, MD
Tampa Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Arnica and Bromelain for Blepharoplasty

Arnica and Bromelain can both be helpful before and after surgery to reduce bruising and swelling. Much of this data is anecdotal, but many doctors, including myself, recommend it frequently for patients undergoing surgery. The important thing to remember is that the herbal supplements are not a cure, and it is still quite possible to get significant bruising and/or swelling even if taking them before and after surgery. 

Bruising may be related to surgical technique, clotting disorders, certain medications, or other factors, but often is just pure chance with each given procedure. Some patients may develop significant bruising on one side of their face and not the other, or may have a history of bruising easily, but no bruising at the time of a particular surgery. Each patient is different. A consultation with a well-trained and experienced surgeon is always recommended in order to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of any procedure or treatment.

Matthew Richardson, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.