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Arm Lift or Brachioplasty Recovery
What can I expect for Arm Lift Recovery?
Arm Lift Surgery may be performed as an outpatient procedure, or you may choose to stay in the hospital overnight when additional procedures are performed. If you choose to go home, you will spend approximately one hour in the recovery room prior to being released in the company of a friend or family member.
Day of Arm Lift Surgery – When you wake up from your procedure, you will be in the recovery room and will have dressings and ACE wraps on your arms. You should have your arms wrapped from the wrist to the armpit for the first 72 hours.
Caregiver – When patients leave the surgery facility to go home, they are usually groggy for about 12 hours or overnight. Thus, it is very important to have someone who can assist you with getting around and taking your medications for at least the first 24 hours.
Nausea – Most people are nauseated during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. To reduce this, we suggest that you take your nausea pill one hour before taking your pain pills or antibiotics.
Sleep – During the two weeks after your arm lift, attempt to sleep with your arms elevated on two to three pillows. This ensures drainage of fluids from your upper extremities, reducing inflammation and tension on your incision lines, reducing pain and resulting in a thinner scar during the initial healing process.
Painkillers – You’re likely to feel sore for a few days, but you should be up and around in 24 hours. The prescribed painkillers can control most of your discomfort.
Shower – Remove your dressing and ACE wrap on the third day after your arm lift surgery. You may now take a shower. After showering, simply pat your incisions dry and begin wearing your arm compression garment.
First Post-operative Visit – Dr. Agha prefers to see you 3 to 5 days after an arm lift procedure. Swelling- Any swelling in your arms may take three to five weeks to subside. Compliance with arm elevation will reduce this period.
Driving – It is not safe to drive a car within 24 hours of taking pain medication as your reflexes and alertness may be altered. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing.
Walking – Although your arms will be sore for several days, you should be up and walking the day following surgery. This is the best way to reduce the chances of blood clotting in the legs. You should be able to resume your normal daily activities within several days following surgery, and you should be able to resume all of your physical activities within three weeks of surgery.
Light Exercise – Dr. Agha recommends light exercise to reduce swelling and prevent clotting. Light exercise includes walking, stretching, and moving arms and legs while sitting. If you should feel pain or pulling of the scar area, cease the movement.
Activities – During the first week after arm lift surgery, you want to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure. This could cause bleeding at the operative site, which could result in a hematoma (collection of blood).
Walking is the safest exercise, especially during the first week. Avoid exercises that directly stress the area of your surgery for a full four weeks. After this period, cardiovascular activities such as riding a stationary bicycle or brisk walking can be initiated.
Avoid heavy lifting, contact sports, and jogging for up to six weeks. By the time you are at six weeks after your arm lift, you will be nearing your pre-operative state. Avoid pulling at the surgical area to maximize healing and minimize scarring. During the early phase of healing, one must avoid irritation around the operative site as this can worsen swelling and fluid accumulation. This could cause development of a seroma (fluid collection) or cause problems with the wound (dehiscence or opening of the suture line or widening of the scar). Even though the skin is closed, there are many activities taking place beneath the skin.
Healing – You will need a few weeks to recover and heal from an arm lift procedure. The typical healing time is at least one to two weeks before returning to work.
Scarring – Every person’s body is different, and many factors contribute to scar healing. Your scars will be firm and pink for about six weeks. Non-smokers and those who follow the Enhanced Recovery Nutritional Supplements routine have a better chance of having rapid healing and thinner scarring. Expect to wait at least 9 to 12 months before your arm lift scars lighten in color and become as flat as the rest of your skin.
Follow-ups – Regular checkups protect against complications.
Emergencies – Some discomfort is expected following your arm lift surgery. However, be sure to tell us if:
- There is an increase in swelling, pain, redness, drainage, or bleeding in the surgical area. You develop fever, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, or a general ill feeling.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heartbeats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment. Do you have more questions about Arm Lift surgery? Call (949) 644-2442 to schedule your complimentary consultation with Board Certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Agha.
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