Brachioplasty Discharge Instructions
Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)
- The original dressing or ACE bandage applied at the time of surgery can be removed the following day and reapplied after showering. This should be supportive but not excessively tight.
- You may shower with in 24 hours after surgery. Please remove the dressing over the incision but leave the steri-strips (paper tapes) in place. This will keep the incision from widening. DO NOT submerge the incision for at least 3-4 weeks. Baths and hot tubs can be resumed once all areas are completely healed. A blow dryer set on a “cool” setting is helpful in drying the areas after a shower. Place a hand at the site to make sure that the air stream remains cool.
- Expect tightness and soreness at the incision site which will decrease slowly over the next several weeks. Some tightness with certain activities may persist for months. Numbness at the surgical site may occur. Be careful in adjusting the temperature of water in the shower. Heating pads should NEVER be used in the areas in order to prevent burns.
- Driving may be resumed once one’s reaction times, reflexes, and abilities are back to “normal”. One cannot drive while taking narcotic pain relievers. This usually requires up to 7 to 10 days for most people to be safe behind the wheel.
- Ice packs (bags of frozen peas or corn work well for this purpose) may be used on the arms for the first 1-3 days post-op. This may provide some additional comfort and help decrease swelling. Never put ice directly on the skin, as this might cause frostbite.
- Sutures will be removed on subsequent post-operative office visits as needed.
- One should continue antibiotics orally as instructed.
- Avoid heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks after surgery. A 10 pound weight limit is advisable initially. Strenuous activity should be limited for 2-4 weeks post-operatively. To avoid wound healing problems and disruption of wounds, one needs to be mindful of one’s activities. Be aware that it takes 42 days for most wounds to achieve 70% of the strength of intact skin. Even though you may feel “healed” in 2-4 weeks, the wounds are not as strong as you think.
- Activity should be gauged to how one feels. Early ambulation is strongly encouraged. More strenuous activity can be resumed in 2 weeks. Elevation of the heart rate and blood pressure should be avoided for the first 2 weeks to minimize swelling and bruising. After 2 weeks, one can increase one’s pace in walking but should not resume jogging, aerobics, or high impact activities for at least 6 weeks post-op.
- It is not uncommon that an occasional dissolving suture will surface along the wound presenting as a small open area. This is frequently misinterpreted as “infection”. Removal of the offending suture will usually result in rapid healing. We will do this for you as needed in the office.
- Temperature elevations to 100-101 degrees in the first 2-4 days are usually due to collapse of the small air passages in the lungs after general anesthesia. This usually does not represent infection in most cases unless accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as redness, unusual drainage, increasing pain etc. This usually improved with deep breaths, increased activity and occasionally forcing a cough to re-expand the lungs.
- All pain medication can cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach. Please take every dose with food to avoid this problem. A choice of pain medications has been provided. Please choose one and do not change unless a problem occurs with a particular medication or you wish to “step down” to a lesser strength narcotic. ALL pain medications cause constipation. Please use laxative or stool softeners as needed.
- Early and frequent walking is necessary to prevent the risk of blood clots that could pass to the heart or lungs resulting in a pulmonary embolus. Significant pain and swelling in the leg or sudden onset of shortness of breath are very important symptoms that demand immediate attention.
- If you develop increased redness, warmth, pain, or temperature in excess of 101 degrees, please call our office and have your pharmacy’s phone number available.
- Resumption of sexual activity is dictated by ones physical comfort level.
Please call our office if you have any concerns or questions not addressed in this instruction sheet.