Many of our surgical patients at The Piazza Center in Austin ask, “Why am I so swollen?” and “How long until the swelling is gone?”  Swelling is your body‘s natural response to trauma. This is completely normal and expected after a surgical procedure.  It can take as little as a few months or as long as up to a year for your swelling to resolve after surgery. However, there are several things you can do after surgery to help prevent and manage excessive swelling. 

Our Top Tips to Reduce Swelling After Surgery

  • When prescribed, wear your compression garment as instructed.
  • Be mindful of your salt intake. Diets high in sodium can increase water retention and increase swelling at the surgical site.
  • Stay adequately hydrated. This will help flush out your system, promote healing, and allow your kidneys to adequately remove toxins from your body.
  • Use stool softeners such as Colace to decrease constipation and abdominal bloating. Another option is to eat lots of organic fiber to promote good gut health.
  • Get a lymphatic massage help assist the body’s lymphatic system remove the excess fluid that causes swelling. This often assists greatly with decreasing discomfort at the surgical site.
  • Walk frequently! Walking for 10-15 mins every hour that you are awake helps to mobilize fluid in your body so that it returns to your vascular system and have several benefits such as reduced swelling, improved circulation, and decreases the risk of blood clots, also known as deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
  • A proper sleeping position helps to evenly distribute the swelling throughout the body and minimizes discomfort upon waking. We recommend placing a pillow under your knees and using 1-2 pillows under your shoulders and head to keep more of a “beach chair” position while sleeping.
  • Ibuprofen and other NSAID medications reduce inflammation which can help reduce swelling. We always recommend that you check with your doctor to make sure these are right for you.
  • Supplements such as Arnica Montana and Bromelain naturally decrease swelling.  At the Piazza Center, we provide our patients with these supplements as a gift after surgery in order to help them achieve the very best surgical experience at our Austin plastic surgery clinic.  These not only reduce inflammation, but also decrease bruising in the tissue after surgery.
  • Get plenty of rest and quality sleep. Overextending yourself after surgery can lengthen your healing process and affect your recovery.
  • Finally, be patient with yourself! Everyone’s healing process is different, and we are here to guide you along your journey. 

Lymphatic Massage Providers in Austin, TX

At The Piazza Center in Austin, we have found the following local resources to be excellent providers of lymphatic massage in our community:

If you have any questions or are ready to schedule your surgical consultation, please call The Piazza Center at (512) 288-8200 or request a consultation online today.

Rocco C. Piazza, M.D is the owner of The Piazza Center plastic surgery practice in Austin, TX and is a Diplomate of The American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, as well as a national spokesperson for the ASPS. Call  (512) 288-8200 and visit the website 

Ann Gallegos, RN, BSN is a clinical nurse at The Piazza Center plastic surgery practice in Austin, TX. She focuses on her patients’ comfort and safety to ensure the best possible surgical outcomes. Call (512) 288-8200 and visit the website

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