Armlifts, also known as brachioplasties, removes loose and hanging skin from the back of the arms and into and across the armpit if necessary. No muscle, fascia or any significant blood vessels or nerves are removed in the process. This will leave a straight line scar from just below the elbow and into or across the armpit in some cases. This will tighten the arms by reducing its circumferential measurement.
The following postoperative instructions for armlifts are as follows:
1. Arm lifts usually have a minimal amount of postoperative discomfort. After the first 24 hours, most patients no longer require pain medication.
2. Your arms will be wrapped in ace wraps after the operation. These are to be left in place for the first 48 hours. As your arms will swell after surgery, the ace wraps may feel too tight. You may loosen them or unwrap them and reapply them in a looser fashion. If your hands get tingly or numb, they are too tight.
3. After 48 hours, take off the ace wraps and take a shower. The incisions will be taped but do not worry about getting them wet. Reapply the ace wraps again after showering. Do not take a bath or submerge the arm incisions under water for two weeks after surgery.
4. Your forearms and hands will swell during the first week after surgery. This is normal and will return to normal within 10 -14 days after surgery. This is due to the new tightness of the upper arms and the mildly constrictive nature of the ace wraps. This temporarily obstructs lymphatic outflow and causes the swelling of the forearms and hands.
5. The tapes that are on your arm incisions will be removed by Dr. Eppley at your first follow-up visit. Should they come off before your first visit, do not be concerned. It is not necessary to reapply them. They can be left untapped and covered by the ace wraps.
6. You are to continue wearing the ace wraps on the arms for up to two weeks after surgery.
7. Numbness of the upper arm around the incisions is normal. Feeling will eventually return but it may take up to three months after surgery for it to feel normal.
8. Avoid exercise and strenuous use of your arms for four weeks after surgery so breakdown of the incisions can be prevented.
9. You may drive when you feel comfortable and can react normally and are off pain medication.
10. If any redness, tenderness, or drainage develops after the first week of surgery, call Dr. Eppley and have your pharmacy number ready.