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Are you planning or considering an arm lift procedure? Chances are that your doctor has already explained what precautions you should take before surgery and what you should expect after the procedure is done.

Just like any surgical procedure, following the guidelines provided by your doctor before and after an arm lift is crucial to ensure a successful recovery!

In this article, we are going to give you an overview of what you should consider before and after an arm lift. Please consider these tips as a general overview – always follow what your doctor has prescribed or recommended to you.

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What is an arm lift?

As we age or experience weight fluctuations, the skin in our arms might sag and lose elasticity, and our arms might get flabby. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that aims to reduce excess sagging skin in your arms, tighten the underlying supportive tissue and reduce localised pockets of fat in the upper arm region.

An arm lift surgery involves removing excess skin and fat in the upper arm region and then tightening the remaining skin to create a more toned contour. The surgeon will make a few 3-4 mm incisions around your arms that will be the access points to remove the excess fat and skin. At the end of the surgery, bandages will be applied. You will stay at our clinic from 8 to 24 hours after surgery. This will be decided on an individual basis.

The procedure is carried out using a general anaesthetic and takes approximately 90-120 minutes for both arms.

Arm lift: Guidelines before the procedure

The first step of an arm lift surgery is a medical consultation. This is the first time you talk to us and express your expectations. Make sure you ask us any questions you might have about the procedure. Get in touch with us any time!

During the consultation, make sure you inform us of any medications you’re currently taking or any medical conditions you might have. We might ask you to perform a few tests before surgery to assess your overall health and check whether you are fit to undergo the procedure.

These are the pre-op guidelines before an arm lift surgery:

  • You’ll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol at least one week before surgery. Besides being beneficial to your health overall, these habits have a significant negative impact on wound healing, especially scarring.
  • Do not eat or drink anything (including water) after midnight the night before your surgery or twelve hours before surgery. Also avoid chewing gum.
  • Remove all of your jewellery the night before surgery.
  • Take a shower with soap the night before surgery. Remove all makeup and do not apply body lotions, deodorants, antiperspirants, or makeup.
  • Do not wear contact lenses on the day of surgery.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing, preferably that buttons up the front. Pulling clothing over your head should be avoided.
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Arm lift: Guidelines after the procedure

Right after an arm lift surgery, dressings or bandages are applied and your arms may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment. This will help minimise the post-op swelling. A small tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.

These are the post-op guidelines after an arm lift surgery:

  • You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site and drains, as well as what medications to apply or take orally to aid healing.
  • After an arm lift, contact your doctor immediately if you have shortness of breath, chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, redness of the skin, and a fever.
  • During the first weeks after the surgery, avoid physical exertion or heavy lifting for a few weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid the sauna, bathing, and sunbathing for a few weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid drinking and smoking as long as possible. It will help you heal faster and avoid visible scarring!
  • You will be given pain relief medication to ease your recovery and manage postoperative pain.
  • Depending on the nature of your job, you should be able to return to work after two weeks.
  • You will need to wear a tight-fitting body garment for the first few weeks to support the treated area.
  • Avoid strenuous activities and workouts for a few weeks. Wait until your doctor gives you the green light to do so.
  • Your scars will be permanent but will eventually fade. You should allow 9 – 12 months for your scars to flatten and lighten in colour.

Recovery and results of an arm lift surgery

Following the post-op guidelines provided by your doctor is crucial to ensure that your recovery proceeds well and that you can fully enjoy the results of your arm lift.

Full recovery typically takes 2 to 3 weeks but keep in mind that each person heals differently and at a different pace, so make sure you keep your doctor informed of how you’re doing. We will also be in touch with you from time to time to see how you’re doing!

You will see the results of your arm lift right after surgery. There might be some swelling and bruising in the area but this is normal after a surgical procedure. They will subside in a few days.

Try to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy, balanced diet after an arm lift surgery. While losing some firmness is natural as you age, results are meant to be permanent, so good habits will help you in the long run.

If you have any questions during your recovery or want to have more information on the procedure, get in touch with us and one of our patient coordinators will be happy to assist you.