Updated: Apr 16
Decision made! You’ve pondered a Facial Rejuvenation procedure with a trusted Plastic Surgeon, completed the consultation, and booked it.
How exciting for you!
You have set aside time-off from work, deferred social commitments, and made arrangements to accommodate your kids’ schedules — for recovery time.
Prior to your procedure, you have a “Pre-op Review” with a nurse to go over what prescription medications you may opt for, nutritional supplements to suspend, as well as foods and non-prescription remedies to avoid.
Surgeons will recommend avoiding NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) approximately 2 weeks prior to a procedure — as well as avoiding alcohol.
Surgeons will also list avoiding certain herbs that act to reduce clotting tendencies, such as Ginkgo biloba, but their list is not particularly exhaustive of all the plants that can increase bleeding time in some individuals — which ultimately impacts intensity of bruising, swelling, and duration of recovery.
We know that many plants can, in-fact, assist with the healing process, so what is best?
Your unique Medical History may also involve predisposing tendencies or factors for easy bruising and delayed clotting time — which is best identified in the months PRIOR to any procedure, and addressed expressly for YOU in order to achieve the best results possible.
Some common herbs used for general health and inflammation with high levels of components that reduce the blood’s ability to clot include Turmeric — but there are numbers of additional plants with variable levels of blood thinning components.
I work with Patients to comb through their daily diets and regimes to identify potential issues in preparing the body for a procedure and in the recovery weeks following.
There are many options in a formulation that can be taken right up to the day before a procedure, and resumed as soon as you return home to recover faster than without support.
Certain post-procedure recommendations commonly recommended can actually IMPEDE optimal results, so I thought to share with you some of my additional guidance when supporting a Patient through Pre-surgical Prep and Post-surgical Recovery:
Digestive Enzymes? Let’s reconsider.
Many practitioners suggest Bromelain/Papain (fruit enzymes) found in certain fruits for resolving bruising — which, of course, is best consumed by eating the actual fruit with all of the additional synergistic and tissue-healing nutrients found in the WHOLE fruit. These additional nutrients act to strengthen vessel walls, build connective tissue integrity, and reduce swelling via other mechanisms than just “eating away” at bruises (which doesn’t always accelerate desired effects).
Some practitioners are suggesting supplement therapies that contain “lipase” enzymes. Lypase digests fatty acids.
What’s wrong with enhancing the digestion of fats? Allow me to explain.
When you are going in for “Fat Grafting” (also known as Fat Transfer) of transplanting fat from one area of the body to another — these enzymes can be working against your goals!
Surgeons will “overcorrect” an area because up to approximately 30% of that transplanted fat will be reabsorbed by the body — so if you wish for the body to accept this fat into a new location, the goal is to maintain the estimated 70% remaining rather than accelerate its metabolism in the recovery period.
Ice Ice, Baby. Ice is universally recommended after most surgeries, yes. When icing, however, there IS such a situation as “too much” of a good thing.
How so? Here’s the rationale:
Limiting ‘excessive’ swelling is good, by way of moderate ice pack application. Translation: 10-15 minutes, gently applied, periodically spaced through the day to ease discomfort and keep inflammation in-check. Moderate icing will help reduce fluids from leaking out of vessel walls into the spaces between cells that causes the area to expand — and this is good, to a point.
Aggressive icing to the point of compromising the surface capillaries from delivering healing nutrients and carrying away inflammatory waste products can actually impede recovery and possibly compromise the tissues by starving cells from essential functions.
If icing is applied too cold for too long, there is a potential for local cellular death so the transferred fat cells won’t “take” to the area, becoming unviable.
Applying too much pressure with weighted ice packs can impede recovery by compressing the tissues, increasing pressure inside delicate capillary walls and reducing circulation.
It is one thing to hold pressure on a cut until it clots and stops bleeding, but not as helpful when the body is working to heal an area manipulated in cosmetic procedure.
While “chronic” or long-term inflammation can destroy local tissues over time, “acute” inflammation as a result of injury or surgery is a natural response by the body to rush healing components to an area. So, MODERATION is KEY.
Plastic Surgeons who have referred their Patients to me have remarked upon the improved integrity of underlying connective tissues they have observed during procedures — with notably enhanced recovery durations.* [*compared amongst Patients who have had previous procedures without customized Herbal Medicine support]
[It is best starting custom support prior to surgical procedures. Referring surgeons have sent along Patients who have not prepared in-advance, and report lingering swelling and/or “yellowish” bruising. We are typically able to achieve resolution within 1-2 weeks.]
We know supportive care is a helpful aspect to accelerate recovery from cosmetic procedures, when recommendations are mindful of the Individual’s personal history and applied sensibly.
Tami Bronstein is an Internationally-qualified Medical Herbalist-Physiologist. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) via University of Wales/College of Phytotherapy (England, U.K.), with Post-Graduate work in NeuroEndocrine-Immunology alongside Medical Doctors of France. A [Plant Based] Hormone SuperHero! Additionally, Tami holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology with Psychology from Hofstra University in New York. For more information on customizing support for your next cosmetic procedure, visit www.medherbalist.com or call 908.432.2990