Arm lift surgery, or brachioplasty, is a body contouring procedure to remove the hanging excess skin and fat. The supportive tissue called fascia is contoured and tightened as well to further improve the upper arm, which has sagged due to weight fluctuations and/or aging.
Arm lift recovery depends on how long the incisions are and whether ancillary procedures have been performed—such as liposuction in which the excess fat is removed through the use of a hollowed stainless steel probe called cannula. However, anecdotal reports show that most patients are able to return to [light] work within three to seven days.
To make sure that you are healing properly, your plastic surgeon will require routine check ups. If he used removable sutures to close your wound at the time of surgery, these will be removed within a week or two.
As with any type of plastic surgery, after arm lift you should expect some swelling and bruising, which will subside to a significant degree by two weeks. However, a wound that appears not to be improving and inflammation that remains persistent might be signs of infection that must be addressed immediately to avoid unsatisfactory scarring and poor cosmetic results.
Your surgeon will inform you about the telltale signs of infection such as fever (38 degree Celsius or above), persistent redness and swelling within the incision site, increasing pain, and drainage/pus in the affected area.
To minimize bruising and swelling, compression garments are typically worn during arm lift recovery. These are also known to encourage healing by preventing seroma or excess fluids within the recovering tissue, and improve the postop result to some degree by helping the skin to shrink-wrap around the new contour.
The use of compression garments differs from surgeon to surgeon, although Los Angeles plastic surgery experts typically recommend four to six weeks of regular use. Take note that they should not cause discomfort, numbness, or skin changes, which are signs that they impede with normal blood circulation.
Within two to six weeks of surgery, you should avoid excessive arm movement and heavy lifting to promote good healing. You should also keep a normal heart rate and blood pressure to prevent increased bleeding, persistent swelling, and other complications that could impede with normal healing.
Nevertheless, it is important that you avoid prolonged immobility because it could lead to weight gain, more swelling, and lethargy. A good rule of thumb is to take short walks several times a day to improve blood circulation, which is also known to minimize risk of blood clot or deep vein thrombosis in the legs and to promote healing.