Arm lift (brachioplasty) is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the underarms, or armpits. It’s considered a cosmetic procedure because it improves appearance but does not treat disease or deformity.
Arm lift recovery is a long process, but you can reduce the time it takes with good nutrition and exercise. The armpit area contains a large number of sweat glands and hair follicles, which can develop into unsightly bumps after weight loss or pregnancy. Excess skin also can result from aging or weight gain.
The surgical procedure for arm lift involves removing excess skin, fat and tissue from the upper arms. The procedure can be performed on both women and men and is popular among those who want to improve their self-image.
Arm lift recovery can be a stressful time. You might be wondering how you can speed up your recovery or what you should do to prevent complications and infections. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during your arm lift recovery:
1. Avoid Smoking
Smoking increases your risk of complications after surgery and can make healing more difficult. If you smoke now or used to smoke in the past, it’s important to stop smoking before your surgery so that your body has a chance to repair itself as best it can before the procedure.
2. Stay Hydrated
This is a very important step to take during your arm lift recovery. You should drink plenty of water before, during and after surgery. Water will help your body heal faster, flush out toxins and reduce swelling. It’s also important because it keeps you hydrated so that you don’t get dizzy or faint.
3. Get Moving
While you’re healing from an arm lift, it’s important to keep your body moving as much as possible. The more you move around, the better your circulation will be and the faster your body will heal after surgery. It’s also important to keep active because staying sedentary for too long can cause blood clots in your legs or lungs due to reduced circulation. Blood clots can be fatal if they travel through the bloodstream into other organs such as the heart or brain, so it’s very important for patients who have had recent surgeries or injuries to move around frequently.
4. Eat Healthy
It’s important to eat a healthy diet after having arm lift surgery so that your body can heal properly. Avoid processed foods or foods with added sugar as much as possible because these can cause inflammation in your body and make it harder for you to heal properly after your surgery. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds instead of processed foods whenever possible so that you can get all of the nutrients that your body needs during recovery time!
5. Work with your surgeon.
Your surgeon knows exactly what he or she is doing when performing an arm lift procedure on you, so don’t hesitate to ask questions about what to expect during recovery time. If something doesn’t seem right or if something hurts more than usual, don’t be afraid to speak up! It’s much better to get a second opinion from another doctor than risk making things worse than they already are by ignoring the problem altogether.
6. Limit your activities.
You’ll probably want to limit your physical activities for a few weeks after surgery. You should also avoid lifting anything heavy or carrying anything with your arms until they’ve fully healed. The longer you take it easy on yourself, the faster your body will heal — so don’t push it!
7. Wear compression garments.
Compression garments help reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. Your doctor will provide you with a special compression garment to wear while you recover from your surgery. Be sure to follow their instructions and wear these items as directed.
8. Take the Time to Recover
The arm lift recovery process takes time and patience. You need to give your body time to heal, which means giving it rest and not overdoing it. Avoid doing too much physical activity, working out and exercising during this period. It will take about two weeks for the incisions to heal completely, so try to avoid any strenuous activity beyond that point.
9. Use cold compresses as needed to reduce swelling.
Apply ice on your upper arms for 15 minutes every two hours for four days after surgery. Then use hot compresses on your upper arms until they are warm again (approximately five minutes). Repeat this process until you no longer have swelling or bruising around your incisions.
10. Take pain medication as prescribed.
While an arm lift is considered a minor procedure, it still requires anesthesia and incisions. The type of anesthesia used varies depending on your doctor’s preference, but in general, you’ll receive either general or local anesthesia before surgery begins. If you’re having general anesthesia, you won’t feel anything during surgery; if you’re having local anesthesia, you may be awake during the operation but unable to move your arms or legs. The most common side effects include swelling, bruising and pain at the incision site after surgery.
11. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
It’s best to avoid alcohol and caffeine in the days following surgery, as they can lead to increased bleeding and swelling. Also, avoid smoking for at least a month after surgery because it will increase your risk for infection. If you’re having trouble quitting, talk with your doctor about nicotine replacement options or other ways to manage your cravings.
12. Take time off from work.
If you have a job where you sit at a desk all day long, then it’s probably a good idea for you to take at least two weeks off from work after your procedure. You’ll want to make sure that your body heals properly in order to avoid any complications down the road. If you’re not able to take time off from work right away, then try using your sick days so that they don’t go unused. This way, if there are any issues with your recovery process, then they won’t affect your finances too much.
13. Exercise daily, starting with walking.
You’ll need more than just a few minutes of exercise each day — about 30 minutes is recommended for people recovering from an arm lift procedure. This helps improve circulation and prevents blood clots that could cause complications during surgery or after surgery. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, such as brisk walking or jogging on level ground. If you have any medical conditions or concerns about exercising, talk with your doctor about what activities are safe for you during arm lift recovery.
14. Rest as much as you can
If you have the ability to work from home, do so. Don’t use your arms for anything other than minimal activities for the first week after surgery. For example, don’t reach above your head or behind your back. This can cause undue stress on the incisions and may result in an infection or delayed healing.
15. Clean your incisions properly.
The most important thing to do after your arm lift surgery is keep the incisions clean. This will help prevent infection and speed up healing time. The best way to do this is to use a warm washcloth with soap and water on it daily. The incisions should be gently wiped from the bottom up and then dried off with a towel.
16. Prepare your home.
One of the best ways to make sure that you get through arm lift recovery without problems is to have a comfortable place to recover at home. This means that you need to make sure that your home has everything you will need during this time. For example, if you are going to be on bed rest, it is important that you have extra pillows or a pillow wedge so that you can prop up your head while lying down. You should also make sure that there are plenty of blankets around so that if you get cold during arm lift recovery, it will not be difficult for you to find one.
17. Take Your Vitamins
As you recover from arm lift surgery, you will need to take vitamins to help your body heal. You may also need additional supplements, such as calcium and iron, depending on the type of surgery you had and what your doctor recommends for you specifically. Ask your doctor about which vitamins are best for you before taking any supplements.
18. Sleep with your arms elevated.
It may be uncomfortable at first, but sleeping with your arms elevated after an arm lift procedure is a good idea. Elevating your arms at night helps with swelling and reduces bruising. You can use pillows or towels to prop up your arms during sleep.
19. Get your bandages changed every day.
The first few days after surgery will be the most painful, but once you get past that initial phase of healing, your pain will start to subside. That said, don’t skimp on bandage changes — especially if you’re experiencing swelling or oozing from your incisions. Your plastic surgeon will give you instructions for how often to change your bandages, but typically it’s every 24 hours for the first week and then every 48 hours thereafter until all stitches have been removed.
20. Avoid lifting anything heavy
The best way to avoid injury during the recovery period is not to lift anything that is too heavy. Avoid carrying groceries, bags and other items that weigh more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms). It’s also a good idea to avoid lifting your arms above shoulder level until they have fully healed.
21. Pay attention to the warning signs that something may be wrong.
If you notice any redness, swelling or bruising around your incision site or if your pain is increasing in severity or duration after 48 hours, contact your doctor right away.
22. Don’t take blood thinners
Blood thinners such as aspirin and ibuprofen may increase your risk of bleeding during the first week after surgery. Speak with your doctor about when it’s safe to begin taking these medications again.
23. Avoid getting a fever early in your recovery
Some people may experience a low-grade fever soon after their procedure due to the swelling caused by the surgery. This is normal and should not be cause for concern as long as it resolves within a few days.
24. Stay Away from Sun Exposure
The skin on your arms and chest has been lifted and tightened, so it is important not to expose this area to the sun during recovery. You should avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight as well as tanning beds. Sun exposure can cause burns and other skin issues that can impede healing and cause scarring.
25. Shop For Comfy Clothing
One of the first things people do when they get home from surgery is go shopping for some new clothes. They want to look good in their outfits, but there are some things to consider before running out to buy a new wardrobe. Wear loose clothing and avoid tight-fitting tops or anything with pockets on the sides of your body. The last thing you need is an infection!