The recovery period for a brachioplasty
ranges from one week for a mini or a limited brachioplasty to three weeks
for a full brachioplasty. During the first two weeks, most surgeons
want the patient to elevate their arms above their heart to help reduce the
chance of swelling. While each patient is unique with their own
recovery time, most are back to full activities within three to four weeks
post operative - and back to their normal exercise program by six weeks. Wearing the compression garment for the first couple of months following
surgery will help the skin contour to its new shape.
Your surgeon might have placed surgical
to help reduce edema from building up after the procedure. A small, thin tube may be
temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that
may collect. You will need to monitor the out put of the fluid in
these drains for the surgeon.
dressing may look extensive after the brachioplasty because of the
compression garment. The
compression garment does protect the
incisions after the surgery and helps the skin to retract back to its new
contour and shape. Limiting any physical exercise is going to be
beneficial for the patient, especially any lifting. Elevation with
pillows will help increase comfort.
liposuction of the upper arm is also very similar to liposuction of other
areas of the body. Almost all patients are fitted with a compression garment
that is worn for at least two weeks after the procedure. A noticeable change
in the appearance of the arms should be expected soon after. Most patients
can return to work within a few days of the surgery.
The First 24 Hours...
expect during the first 24 hours following surgery:
Patients need to make arrangements for an
responsible adult family member or friend to bring you to the surgery
center and to also take you home following the brachioplasty. After surgery, this caregiver will need to stay with you for a
minimum of 24 hours following surgery.
After you arrive home from the procedure,
you will be instructed to rest for the first couple of days following
surgery. Bed rest is not mandatory but it is necessary that the
patient take things easy. Walking around the house is encouraged
to help with circulation. Drinking water with lemon will help
reduce post operative swelling.
Drinking fluids is encouraged, as you do
not want to become dehydrated. Monitor the level of hydration with
making sure you are urinating "light color urine" every four to six
Eating after your surgery should be with
foods that are not greasy or acidic. Being nauseated after surgery
is a common occurrence so making sure you eat foods that are easy on
your system will help your stomach.
Drainage from the surgical site during
the first 24 hours is to be expected. Having some blood tinged
drainage is normal. If you are having excessive bleeding that you
cannot stop or control, you need to call your surgeon immediately.
Your arms will be placed in a compression
garment after surgery. You will be instructed not to remove the
garment until the first post operative visit. Keep your arms
straight is important too.
No extra activities or exercising for the
first three weeks. Walking however is encouraged during recovery.
Your surgeon will let you know when you
can get back to your exercise routine. Most surgeons like to have
their patients at least six weeks post operative before any strenuous
exercising is done. Always check with your own plastic surgeon
first before attempting to do anything.
your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It
is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive
force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing.
Patients will be instructed to avoid all
aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for the first few days after the arm lift procedure. Your surgeon will give you a list of medications to stay away from during
the pre-operative period as well. It is important that you listen to
what your surgeon has asked of you, so that no unforeseen complications can
arise during or after surgery. Smoking and exposure to second hand
smoke may interfere with the healing process and should be avoided.
following should be stopped for at least one to two weeks prior to surgery:
is imperative to wear the compression sleeves or similar compression during
the recovery process. Compression helps to minimize swelling, encourage
tightening of the skin, and minimize the risk for bleeding or a possible
short-sleeve compression garments may be more comfortable, particularly
during the summer months, it’s a good idea to ask your plastic surgeon which
type of garment is best for you. Compression garments are typically
worn continuously for several weeks, so you should purchase more than one.
garments are normally recommended after the brachioplasty procedure.
Patients are instructed to wear it continuously for the first several days -
or possibly longer depending on your surgeon's post operative instructions. These garments are to be worn even while sleeping and only to be removed for
Pain is subjective and will vary from patient to patient, as everyone's pain
threshold is different from one another. Most patients undergoing an
upper arm reduction procedure will normally require a few days of narcotic
pain medication to treat any discomfort they might have. During the
seven to ten day period following the surgical procedure, most patients
resolve the majority of their discomfort.
local anesthetic pain pump and drain may be used to help with the healing
process for the first few days after arm lift surgery.
Some surgeons will
recommend improving lymphatic drainage and decreasing swelling and bruising
through a series of lymphatic drainage massage treatments. These
treatments can be performed once week for three weeks. Also, massage
therapy is offered in some surgeon's offices to help reduce the scarring.
Patients are encouraged to massage their brachioplasty scars once the sutures
have been removed.
Scar massage can usually begin three to four
weeks post operative. The scars are initially red and raised, but as time
goes by with the recovery period they will flatten and fade over the course of
the year. During the first year, the final arm shape will be achieved. If any revisions are necessary, most surgeons would like to have the patient
wait anywhere from six to twelve months before doing any further surgical
The recovery period following a brachioplasty
procedure can be slow, however the return of normal function of the arms and
hands are seen within a couple of weeks and it can take several months to see
how the scars from this procedure will evolve.
There are many
different scar treatments that are available as well, that can be utilized once
the incision is fully healed.
There are a couple of drawbacks with having a
brachioplasty - the lengthy recovery time and the long visible scars should be
brachioplasty can be a
very rewarding procedure
for the patient who has undergone massive weight loss and they are trying to
reclaim their body. The self confidence to wear a wider variety of
clothing including sleeveless tops and swimsuits can be overwhelming.