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Arnica and steroids have little or no effect on swelling and bruising

PainSci » bibliography » Totonchi et al 2007
Tags: medications, surgery, inflammation, self-treatment, treatment, pain problems

One article on PainSci cites Totonchi 2007: Does Arnica Gel Work for Pain?

PainSci commentary on Totonchi 2007: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This is a test of arnica and corticosteroids for swelling and bruising after 48 nose jobs. None of them worked all that well. There was a little less swelling on the 2nd day with both arnica and corticosteroids, but it was a small difference that went away by the 8th day. Arnica had no effect on bruising at all.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Both arnica and corticosteroids have been suggested for reducing the postoperative edema and bruising associated with rhinoplasty. This study compared the efficacy of these products following rhinoplasty.

METHODS: Forty-eight primary rhinoplasty patients were randomized into three groups: group P received 10 mg of dexamethasone (intravenously) intraoperatively followed by a 6-day oral tapering dose of methyl-prednisone; group A received arnica three times a day for 4 days; and group C received neither agent and served as the control. Three blinded panelists rated the extent of ecchymosis, the intensity of the ecchymosis, and the severity of the edema.

RESULTS: On postoperative day 2, there were no significant differences in the ratings of extent and intensity of ecchymosis among the groups. There was a significant difference for the edema rating (p < 0.0001), with group C demonstrating more swelling compared with groups A and P. In addition, on postoperative day 8, group P demonstrated a significantly larger extent of ecchymosis (p < 0.05) and higher intensity of ecchymosis (p < 0.01) compared with groups A and C. There were no differences in the magnitude of edema by postoperative day 8 among the three groups. When the differences between day 2 and day 8 ratings were considered, groups A and C exhibited significantly more resolution of ecchymosis by day 8 compared with group P (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that both arnica and corticosteroids may be effective in reducing edema during the early postoperative period. Arnica does not appear to provide any benefit with regard to extent and intensity of ecchymosis. The delay in resolution of ecchymosis for patients receiving corticosteroids may outweigh the benefit of reducing edema during the early postoperative period.

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