Bruises are a natural part of the healing process but certain practices can make the healing process take longer than necessary. Follow these tips to keep from prolonging the bruises and get skin looking back to normal.
• Raise up: Elevating the area of the body that has been worked on will decrease bleeding and swelling.
• Cool down: An ice pack applied to bruises during the first two to three days after surgery will reduce the redness and swelling by causing the blood vessels to contract, stopping the bleeding and minimizing the size of the bruise.
• Stay away from blood thinners: Patients should not take medications that thin the blood before or after surgery. Talk to your plastic surgeon during your initial consultation and let him or her know which medications you have taken in the past few years and any that you intend to take in the near future. Your surgeon can let you know if any of your regular medications have blood thinning properties.
• Under pressure: Pressure should be applied to the injured area immediately. Compression, whether through a garment, tape or bandages, will help to stop the bleeding and prevent the blood from seeping out further into the skin. Once the bleeding has stopped, compression will no longer offer any benefit in terms of bruising. However, compression will help reduce inflammation, which commonly accompanies bruising.
• Heat: After 48 to 72 hours, patients should switch from ice packs to a heat pad. Applying heat to the bruises will improve blood flow and aid in the removal of damaged red blood cells in the tissues.
• Vitamin K: Foods that are high in Vitamin K will encourage the blood to become thicker, thereby reducing bruising. Foods that are high in Vitamin K include kale and spinach.
Healing takes time. Remember to get an adequate amount of rest and follow the tips above to get your body back to its best shape ever.