Bromelain After Plastic Surgery: The Proof Is in the Pineapple

After plastic surgery, don’t be surprised if your surgeon hands you prescriptions for pain medication, antibiotics and . . . . pineapple enzymes. Natural remedies like bromelain, which contains compounds found in the pineapple plant, are often recommended to reduce swelling and pain after surgery. While the jury is still out on whether bromelain is clinically effective for plastic surgery patients, many people have reported that this supplement has speeded up their recovery, especially after nose reshaping.

Bromelain may seem like a newcomer in the world of natural plant supplements, but this enzymatic compound, which is extracted from the stem and juice of the pineapple, has been used to relieve post-surgical inflammation since the 1800s. Bromelain was first used in Germany and has been prescribed consistently in Europe to reduce sinus and nasal swelling after an injury or surgery. In South America, pineapple has been prized for its anti-inflammatory properties for hundreds of years. Patients who’ve had nose reshaping surgery may benefit from bromelain in several ways:

  • Bromelain may minimize swelling and pain around the nose, eyes and cheeks, improving your appearance and making you more comfortable after surgery
  • The enzymes in bromelain can break down mucus, relieving painful nasal congestion
  • Bromelain may speed up the recovery process by reducing pressure around the nose, allowing the area to heal more quickly

If your plastic surgeon recommends that you take bromelain, you can take the product by mouth in tablet or capsule form. This supplement may be more effective if it’s taken on an empty stomach. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to take bromelain after surgery. Because bromelain has blood-thinning effects, you will probably be instructed not to take the supplement for two weeks before your procedure.

Although bromelain is generally considered to be a safe natural remedy, it isn’t right for everyone. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or excessive bleeding after taking bromelain. Because bromelain can heighten the effects of pain medication and antibiotics, post-surgical patients should use the product with care. Take bromelain and other natural supplements only according to your plastic surgeon’s recommendations.

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