Q: Dr. Eppley, I am having a facelift soon and want things to go as well as they can. I have read about taking arnica and bromelain supplements to speed healing and make my recovery quicker. Would these be good to take before surgery?
A: These are common non-pharmaceutical supplements for healing that some plastic surgeons endorse and prescribe for surgery including facelifts. Arnica is a well-known extract of the mountain lily flower that has been used for decades to prevent or clear bruising related to any form of trauma. Taken one week before and one week after surgery, it helps prevent some of the bruising that will occur as well as speeds its resolution after surgery. Arnica is most commonly used as an oral tablet but can also be applied directly to the bruised site as a topical ointment. Bromelain is an extract in oral or liquid form from the pineapple fruit that has anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly used for sports injury, trauma and surgery to decrease swelling. Contrary to popular belief, eating pineapple will not increase your levels of bromelain as it exists mainly in the stem of the fruit. My feeling on both supplements is that they do no harm, are relatively inexpensive, and may provide some recovery benefit, so I do advise my patients to take them particularly for any facial surgery.
Q: Dr. Eppley, I was wondering when I got a breast lift plus augmentation whether I can get the scar around only the areola. Who is the best candidate for it? I have double DD breast size and a lot of sagging since having my son who is almost a year.
A: Having DD size breasts suggests that you definitely do not need an implant but a significant breast lift. A periareolar type breast lift only provides a very limited lifting effect and is almost used exclusively in the small sagging breast when the effect of the implants helps considerably in filling out the loose breast skin and providing a lifting effect of its own. As a stand alone procedure, a periareolar breast lift, also known as a donut mastopexy, does not create a significant breast lift. By your description you are in need of a full breast lift that involves a horizontal and vertical tightening and creates the classic anchor scar pattern. While every woman would like a breast lift with limited scarring, that does not appear to be an option in your case.
There are always two misconceptions that many patients have about breast reshaping surgery – breast implants can lift up a sagging breast and small scar breast lifts can create a significant lifting effect. Both are rarely true.