Q & A With Dr. Herzog: Planning Ahead For Cosmetic Procedures



In today’s post, Dr. Herzog will answer the following question submitted by a Family Savvy reader regarding preparation for cosmetic procedures.

Dear Dr. Jo,

I want to do something to help my face look younger but want to know what the recovery time will be. I have some important events coming up and want to prepare in advance. 


A. E. in Huntsville, AL

Dr. Jo Herzog

Dear A.E.,

That is a great question, and I am glad that it is general enough that we can talk about several things. I will stick to the most common procedures that cosmetic dermatologists do, and we will discuss this in parts over the next couple of weeks.  We will start with DISCUSS AND DISCONTINUE.


Anyone who is considering having a cosmetic procedure (or any procedure) should have a thorough discussion with the doctor to find out what the procedure involves, what preparation  might be needed, and what complications or side effects might occur. A patient should also know what her expectations are and a realistic expectation of whether these expectations might be met.

In this discussion, you should also feel comfortable asking about cost. Cosmetic procedure costs can vary if more of a product is needed to meet your expectations, so initial communication about what you want is important.  A patient might realize that a compromise has to be made between costs and expectations, and this must be understood prior to treatment.

An example I see often is when a patient brings in a photo of lips and asks for “those lips.”  The patient must understand that he or she starts with a given shape (in this case lips) that must be worked with and taken into consideration. Even the most skilled physician and the most talented artist can only work with what they are given. A good understanding of this prevents disappointment.

Another thing to understand in preparing for cosmetic procedures is that everyone reacts differently to a procedure; likewise, the same person might react differently to the same procedure performed at different times. This is where the discussion of side effects and recovery will become important to patients who are planning procedures prior to important events.  The most common side effects are bruising and swelling, with bruising being the most distasteful and bothersome. This is what brings us to “DISCONTINUE.”


Some patients who are taking certain products or supplements will need to discontinue these prior to cosmetic procedures. In general, when anything is injected into one’s face, bruising can occur. Taking anything that makes you bleed increases your chance of bruising. Among those things are aspirin-containing products and several other anti-inflammatories, blood thinners, fish oil, and supplements like gingko, garlic, ginseg. If you do not need these for a medical purpose, you should discontinue them a week before your cosmetic procedure(s).

Some people believe that eating a cup of fresh pineapple a day for five days prior to cosmetic procedures can decrease bruising. Many patients also take arnica supplements prior to procedures or apply arnica cream or gel to injected areas after the procedures. These may or may not work, but they are tried by many who want to decrease chances of the dreaded post-procedure bruising.

Remember: don’t decide the week before your daughter’s wedding that you want to have a new look. Think ahead, and plan carefully. This will help you get the look you want without having side effects ruin your special day.


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