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What Is Arm Lift Recovery Like?

What Is Arm Lift Recovery Like

The initial phase of arm lift recovery lasts for around one to two weeks for most patients. While every patient and every surgery is different, the majority of patients are able to return to their normal, everyday activities after just a short time.

Still, it is important to avoid heavy lifting, physical exertion, and straining or stretching the arms for several additional weeks.

What Is Arm Lift Surgery?

Arm lift surgery or Brachioplasty, is a cosmetic body contouring procedure that aims to reduce loose skin on the upper arms primarily. An incision is typically made from the elbow to the underarm area on each arm. The excess skin is then cut off, and the remaining skin is sutured together.

Recovery Period From Arm Lift Surgery: What to Expect

Your arm lift recovery period begins right after your surgery at our facility. Dr. Matthew Schulman performs all of his plastic surgeries right within his practice in an accredited office operating room. Following your arm lift surgery in our operating facility, you will be taken to our recovery room for a short time.

Here, you will be carefully monitored by our staff. Arm lift surgery is a same-day procedure, meaning you’ll be able to go home on the same day as your surgery.

Once you are feeling okay and cleared to go home, it is important that you have a trusted friend or relative who can drive you. It may be wise to ask for help at home at this time as well because your mobility will be limited for at least several days.

Common Recovery Symptoms & Recommendations

During your recovery process for arm lift surgery, it is normal to experience swelling, bruising, soreness, and some possible drainage.

Compression Garment

Following skin removal, your arms will be sutured and typically sealed with Steri-Strips, then covered in absorbent cotton and wrapped in a compression garment. It is important that you wear your compression garment for the advised amount of time. This could be one to two weeks or up to a month.

Generally, the compression bandages will be worn down the entire length of the arm. They will help keep everything in place as you heal and will also minimize swelling.

Arm ElevationArm Lift Recovery Time

You’ll also need to keep your arms elevated after surgery. This will help to reduce swelling and fluid buildup.

Because it can be difficult and somewhat uncomfortable to keep your arms raised at all times, plan ahead and have some pillows ready so that you can prop your arms up on either side of you.

Post-Surgery Pain

Moderate pain will be at its worst over the first few days after your arm lift procedure. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication that can help.

Movement & Exercise

Make sure you do not strain or stretch your arms and incision sites while you are healing and especially over that first week before your incisions have fully closed.

While you can resume normal activities after a few days or weeks, strenuous exercise — and in particular, any type of resistance training that focuses on the arms — must be avoided for several weeks following your brachioplasty procedure. Speak to your surgeon about when you can resume these activities.

Healthy Lifestyle

Be sure you continue leading a healthy lifestyle after your cosmetic surgery. Your arm lift surgery recovery is not the time to drink alcohol, smoke, eat unhealthy foods, or skimp on sleep.

You’ll want to be well-rested, well-hydrated, and eating a nutritious diet. Avoid excess salt, drink water, and consume plenty of protein-rich foods and fruits and vegetables.

When to Call Your Surgeon

Surgery risks of arm lifts are rare. However, all surgeries come with risks, and it is important to be aware of these prior to your procedure.

If you experience the following during your arm lift recovery timeline, please contact your plastic surgeon right away:

  • Fever
  • Excessive redness spreading from the wound site
  • Incisions that are noticeably hot to the touch
  • Increased and/or uneven swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe or worsening pain that can’t be controlled with prescribed pain medication

Recovery Time For Arm LiftWho Should Get Arm Lift Surgery?

Many patients who undergo arm lift surgery are weight-loss patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and now have what many call “bat wings” on their upper arms.

Patients will often come into the office complaining that when they wave, their arms “wave” too. They want that excess upper arm skin gone.

Weight loss usually causes this loose skin and poor skin elasticity because when you initially gain a lot of weight, the skin gets stretched out. Then, upon losing a large amount of weight, the skin may be unable to retract to the new contours of the body.

Of course, anyone can get arm lift surgery — it’s not only for weight loss patients.

Some patients may have had lifelong problems with sagging skin on their upper arms. The issue could be due to aging. Or sometimes, moms who are seeking mommy makeover surgery want help in this area.

FAQ: Arm Lift Surgery

Does an arm lift remove fat?

Yes, it is also possible to have excess fat removed during arm lift surgery via liposuction. However, this surgery is primarily for the removal of excess skin. The lipo would be for stubborn fat that is resistant to a healthy and balanced diet combined with exercise.

Can I get an arm lift if I’m still overweight?

It is ideal for patients to be finished losing weight and at a stable weight that they are happy with prior to plastic surgery. You want to be at a healthy weight at this point because huge changes in fat distribution or muscle mass post-surgery may alter your results and require further surgery.

Will my arm lift scars fade?

Arm Lift Scars persist after skin heals from injury. Though they won’t vanish entirely, most fade with time, normally within 2 years. Certain measures aid in improving their appearance.

Contact Us to Schedule a Consultation

Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman specializes in body contouring procedures for weight loss patients and others seeking arm lift surgery. If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure, please call us today to request a consultation with Dr. Schulman.


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