Should I Use Arnica After Rhinoplasty?
Arnica, a medicinal herb, is said to have antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulate properties and may relieve pain. Practitioners of natural medicine often prescribe arnica as a topical cream or oil to treat post-operative bruising and swelling. As such, some patients wonder if they can use the herb as a homeopathic remedy to reduce swelling, minimize bruising and promote faster healing after rhinoplasty.
Some studies have shown arnica to be effective in reducing swelling and bruising after surgery. In 2007, for example, scientists from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio gave arnica to 16 rhinoplasty patients after their surgery. While the researchers did not notice any difference in the patients’ extent/intensity of bruising or severity of swelling, they did find that 16 other rhinoplasty patients who did not use any medication after their surgery experienced significantly more swelling than those in the arnica group.
As a natural medicine, there may not be much scientific evidence backing up the benefits of arnica (in fact, some studies have negated its effectiveness entirely). Rather, its use as a post-operative aid is largely based on personal accounts. If you try a therapeutic product containing arnica after your nose job and don’t see any results (or experience adverse effects) within a few days, you’ll likely want to discontinue its use.
There may also be some risks involved when it comes to taking arnica orally, including the chance of blood thinning so be sure to do your research, speak to your surgeon and, if necessary, consult further with a homeopathic doctor before you begin use.
Remember, just like a prescription or over-the-counter drug, it’s important to get the facts about arnica straight before you start to use it – so do your research. A practitioner of natural medicine or homeopathic doctor can help, but it’s also crucial that you discuss any intention to use arnica as part of your recovery with your surgeon prior to your nose job. He or she can come up with a recovery plan that works for you.
Something else to keep in mind: because most healing arnica products are topical (meaning they are applied externally, on the surface of the skin), you won’t be able to use it on your nose for the first week after surgery, as you will be wearing a cast. If your surgeon agrees that it’s safe for you to use arnica in the first week of recovery, be sure to apply it around the cast area, taking care not to get any part of the cast wet.