A bruise appears when tiny blood vessels are damaged, through surgery, injury or puncture. Blood gets trapped under the skin, causing a bruise. Some people are more predisposed to bruising than others; blood thinning medications or certain vitamin deficiencies can increase the risk of bruising. Bruises will heal in time as the body reabsorbs the blood.
Although bruises are common after surgery and injectables treatments, there are ways to accelerate the healing process:
- Arnica: there’s a lack of scientific evidence to conclusively support arnica as a bruise reduction treatment, but anecdotally, we find arnica tablets speed up the reduction of bruising and swelling in the week after surgery; especially after facelift surgery.
- Hirudoid cream: contains MPS (mucopolysaccharides) which promotes tissue regeneration and reduction of swelling and inflammation. The cream is gently massaged into the bruised area twice daily, avoiding the incision line.
- Ice therapy: for the early stages of bruising. This can prevent the bruise from being as apparent and reduce swelling. Apply ice over the bruised area, but not over your incisions (if you’ve had surgery). Ice the bruise for 10 minutes at a time. Wait 20 minutes before reapplying.
- LED light therapy: can help speed up the breakdown of bruises.
- Conceal: use a high coverage or camouflage concealer such as Dermablend, which is available in pharmacies. This can be applied over the bruise. If you’ve had surgery, don’t apply the concealer over your incision line.
As always, what you put in your body will impact your recovery. Avoiding processed foods, salt, sugar and alcohol before and after surgery - and sticking to good water intake and healthy, whole foods - will assist with optimal healing. Incorporate fruit and vegetables that offer antioxidant and anti inflammatory benefits, such as pineapple - which is packed with bromelain - or celery which offers vitamins B6, C and K. Everything in moderation; ginger and turmeric also have anti inflammatory benefits, but very high doses can worsen bruising, so go easy on them!
If you are a patient of Dr Sharp’s and having a cosmetic or large reconstructive procedure, your black post operative bag will contain some products to assist with your recovery and bruising. Our clinics also offer complimentary Hirudoid cream for our surgical and injectables patients.
How long do bruises take to fade after surgery or injectables?
About 2 weeks; for milder or more superficial bruising (common after injectables), bruises can fade within 1 week to be almost indistinguishable. Bruising can appear immediately as a red or pink patch; within the first 2 days, the hemoglobin (the part of your blood that carries oxygen) changes and the bruise turns a blue, purple or black colour. After 5 to 10 days, the bruise turns green or yellow. Then after 10 or 14 days, it turns yellow brown or light brown colour before disappearing altogether. They can be tender to touch during this period.
How does a bruise differ from a haematoma?
A haematoma occurs when the body cannot heal the bruise as easily or quickly as a minor injury. A bruise occurs when a small amount of blood comes out of the vessel. A haematoma usually involves a larger amount of blood; this sometimes occurs after surgery when blood pools in the tissues, and the body cannot quickly process the blood as it does with a bruise. As a result, a haematoma stays the same color and firmness after several days rather than demonstrating the same aforementioned healing progress as a bruise. If you think you might have a haematoma, contact your surgeon to find out if it requires further treatment. In some cases, the haematoma can be removed through draining or surgically removing the collection of blood.
Should I be worried about my bruising?
Although they can be unsightly, bruises are not typically cause for clinical concern after surgery or injectables. They usually heal on their own. But, in some cases, a patient may need to seek medical attention for their bruising. Your bruise should not cause your limbs to become numb or lose function. This is especially the case if:
- you have recently had a dermal filler treatment and find that part of your face on or near the site of the injections has become blue, purple or black. This can be a sign of occlusion and requires urgent medical attention.
- after surgery, if you find that your bruise is firm and does not fade or change in the manner explained above. This could indicate that you have a haematoma. The location, size, and cause of the haematoma will determine how to treat it.
The information contained in this article relates to bruising after surgery or injectables and does not relates to bruising due to other trauma. The article does not constitute medical advice; if you are concerned, you should seek the advice of your doctor. If you are one of Dr Sharp’s patients, we will monitor your bruising and provide advice as your healing progresses. Any concerns regarding your bruises should be promptly raised with us.