Many ask what improves healing? How can I decrease bruising? Many recommend one of these, if not all three—Arnica, Bromelain, and Ice (in the form of a bag of frozen peas), as well as a variety of other things. Some of these things have grown up with the art and science of plastic surgery and are more anecdotal. Proponents and opponents of these things have their reasons, some being scientific and others being purely subjective. There is no scientific evidence that prove these things help reduce swelling, bruising, and increased healing. Usually when a person recommends their use, it is based on years of cumulative experience.
Without delving into the science of each, it is evident that several facts are evident.
- Scientific studies can be contradictory and are subject to the biases of the studies.
- Certain items, especially when nonprescription, can vary from one manufacturer to another. There can be slight variances in preparation with any generic medications, which can alter its effectiveness for some people.
- Medications and nutrients may not be studied or advertised because they cannot be patented; therefore, there is no profit incentive for a company to develop them.
Based on the above factors it is wise to consider the following:
- Follow the recommendations of your physician or surgeon. You are trusting the doctor to have experience and put things into perspective. If you have any questions about that then you should seek another opinion.
- Question your physician about any issues or concern. You should approach him/her position as being an educator first and a therapist or technician second.
- Every patient is a unique individual and should be approached with that in mind. We each have our unique needs, and responses.
- Most responses are multifactorial and need to be viewed in the context of the treatment. A classic example of this is the person reporting an allergy to codeine when in fact they have had the experience of becoming nauseated when taking codeine on an empty stomach. That is not a true allergy (which can cause shortness of breath, constriction of throat, severe swelling, etc.).
We typically use arnica, ice, and sometimes bromelain in specific instances. This is a judgment call on our part and may not always be true for every procedure or every patient. In general, our patients have found these homeopathic remedies helpful, and we often recommend it to help decrease bruising and swelling.