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A female asked:

how long is the recovery period after an arm lift? i was successfully able to lose about 70 pounds, but the excess skin on my upper arms will not go away. i want to have an arm lift procedure done to eliminate this extra skin, but i am concerned about how

7 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mia Skourtis
Plastic Surgery 23 years experience
Congratulations : Congratulations on your success with weight loss! you are undoubtedly experiencing the many of the wonderful benefits of your new body. After successful weight loss, the upper arm area commonly appears very loose and lax as a result of the inability of the upper arm skin to "snap back" after the volume of fat in the arms is reduced. Arm lift surgery, or brachioplasty, is a very effective means of removing the loose skin and tissue from the arms and chest wall and creating a tighter and more toned appearance. To remove the excess skin, a long incision is made, extending from the elbow up the back of the arm to the armpit and beyond along the upper chest wall. I always mention to my patients that this is a long scar that will always be visible in a short sleeved shirt or tank top, and i emphasize the importance of weighing the benefits of the arm lift against the fact that there will always be a visible scar at that sight. After arm lift surgery, you will likely have surgical drains in place in each arm to remove the natural tissue fluid that accumulates after surgery. These drains are usually removed within a week, if used at all. You will need to wear a compression garment at all times except when showering for the first 3 weeks after surgery, and then wear the garment for another 3 weeks for at least half of the day. The garment usually consists of snugly fitting, flesh colored sleeves that fasten in the back, and are easily hidden under clothing. These compression sleeves help reduce swelling and fluid accumulation, and may improve the final shape of the arms and the appearance of the scars. Lifting, pushing, and pulling should be very light for 6 weeks after surgery. I typically recommend about 7-10 days off of work for a desk job, but a longer time off may be required if your job is very physical and requires heavy lifting. Your board certified plastic surgeon can discuss your options with you and help you decide whether you'd benefit from this excellent procedure. All the best, dr. Skourtis.
Dr. David Levens
Plastic Surgery 39 years experience
Congratulations : Congratulations on your weight loss. It is important that your weight remains stable for at least 6+ months prior to proceeding to assure a good result. An full arm lift usually requires a long scar running down the inside of the arm, extending up into the armpit and onto the upper chest wall. Sometimes a more minor lift can be accomplished with a smaller incision up in the armpit only. Typically you should expect to be out of work for at least 7-10 days, although for full recovery and return to full unrestricted activities you should count on 4+ weeks.
Dr. Robert Brueck
Plastic Surgery 48 years experience
How : How much time off depends on what you do.If you do office type work you could probably go back in about a week.If you do manual labor maybe two weeks but i would thiunk after 2 weeks you could pretty much do anything.
Dr. Tom Pousti
Specializes in Plastic Surgery
Several weeks.: Congratulations on your significant weight loss; you should be proud of this accomplishment. Arm lifting surgery is generally not associated with significant discomfort. However, it will be important to rest/elevate your arms to minimize swelling and incision line healing problems. Returning to work will depend on exactly what type of work you do. Best wishes.
Dr. Joseph Mele
Plastic Surgery 32 years experience
Congratulations : Congratulations on your massive weight loss! i find that my patients recovery depends on more than the procedure. Different people have different needs from the surgery and may have different tolerances for what needs to be done. My weight loss patients tend to do very well, because they have already worked hard and sacrificed to get to the point of needing the arm lift. If your job is mostly desk work, a week or two should be plenty of time for recovery. If you do manual labor and have to repeatedly lift your arms above your head it may be two or three weeks for the arm lift to heal enough to allow these more aggressive motions. You can get a more precise answer from a consultation appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon.
Dr. Julio Garcia
Plastic Surgery 42 years experience
We : We have the patient limit activity for the first two weeks, with limited lifting to less than twenty pounds and limit stretching. After two weeks they slowly increase so that after 4-6 weeks they are doing about everything. The time off form work will depend on what type of work you do.
Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez
Plastic Surgery 41 years experience
Arm Lift Recovery...: typically involves 2 weeks off from work, during which you should elevate the arms and avoid movement of the arms. Week 3 - 4 you will have limited range of arm motion, but by the end of week 6 you should be able to resume normal activities. Precise recovery details will depend on the type of lift you have. Consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. https://www.cosmeticsurg.net/procedures/arm

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Last updated Dec 26, 2018

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