2 Weeks POST-Surgery Bilateral Brachioplasty (ARM LIFT) - Still Recovering - Satisfied/ Happy So Far

I had gastic bypass October 2004.Highest Weight =...

I had gastic bypass October 2004.
Highest Weight = 290 lbs.
Lowest Weight = 145 lbs.
Current Weight = between 170-180 lbs.

Wanted to get back to lowest, but have been pretty stable for at least a year (between 170-180 lbs.), and most irritated with my LOOSE SKIN ARMS (BAT WINGS)... my arms did the clapping, literally, whenever I brushed my teeth or combed my hair and various other times during movement of my arms... plus, I dance hula... so, I did not want to hold off any more. Arm Lift first, and then Inner and Outer Thigh Lift LATER (I hope... Lord Willing).

I was looking multiple locations/doctors, but was happy to find out that my main hospital through my medical insurance program opened a "New Ventures" program (plastic/cosmetic surgery), of course I would pay since it is ELECTIVE... but, I wanted to see what it would be like to go through the hospital that "Knows" ME best, has my records, did my gastric surgery, etc... I felt safe with them... so, I did the consult, was very pleased with the meeting, and planned it... I had surgery 03 March 2010.

I am currently 2 weeks post-op, still wrapped, NO drains required, only Arm Lift, no stitches... just glue/tape "stitching" that is just now starting to flake off in 1 or 2 small areas (will dissolve or flake on its own)...

I reported to Surgi Center at 8am, I think my surgery started around 10am or around that time, I was told that surgery was approximately 2 to 3 hours, and I would be in recovery for about 1-2 hours. My mom took me and drove me home around 2:30 or 3pm I think. I was still on morphine, so I did not feel anything. After that, days following I was on Vicodin.

My mom had to dress me and help me quite a bit for the first week a lot. I was able to shower I think it was the next day (about 24-48 hours), with help from my mom especially to undress me, dry me off, wrap me back up, and dress me, and do my HAIR! (my hair is thick, heavy, and long down to my butt). I was wrapped in gauze & ace bandages from shoulder to elbow and gauze in my underarms area (my incision went from elbow to underarm). I had some bruising, some tenderness (Vicodin made it okay). I had to elevate my arms all the time on pillows (mostly stayed in my recline the first week, and then to my bed eventually - with LOTS of pillows to sleep on my back and elevate my arms).

I thought I was tough since I am healthy and strong, only taking off work for 4 days post surgery, and ended up ADDING 1 more day (for a total of just 1 week off from work). Even after 1 week, 1st day back I got TIRED QUICKLY, energy just drained/dropped like 4 times, it was a bit of a struggle for couple days back, and driving was not quite as "easy" as I thought (turning the wheel, and rolling my window up or down since I do not have automatic windows and had to show my ID at the gate going into work, driving to meetings and having to show it again coming back into the gate... the first 2 days back I had multiple meetings and interviews to conduct... so, window down/window up, window down/up, etc... ugh), and also not being able to carry as much as I usually carry easily (my full heavy purse and backpack or briefcase, to include filling one of those with my lunch and plenty of drinks for the day).

Also, when returning to work and needing to dress decent/ professionally, discovering that the easiest is to use button-up shirts... (and, up to that point i had been in button-up pajamas) I realized that I only had like 2 or 3 button-up shirts to wear, so my mom found 2 more and then planned to buy me 2 more... plus, I needed something nice to wear to church as well and to wear to hula practice too. So, anyways...

About one and a half week out, my doctor said I looked good, healing good, and that I did not NEED to wear the bandages after 2 weeks. He also did not mention a compression garment, and when I brought it up, he said it is "Not necessary", but I had already ordered one, his nurse advised me that it was "not necessary"/ "not required", but is OKAY...

I also bought extra gauze and a couple extra ace bandages, for my own preference 1 week out since they were constantly used and I also wrapped my underarm area with gauze AND ace bandage extra(placing gauze in underarm area and wrapping ace bandage around chest to hold underarm area gauze) (for MY comfort, MY preference... NOT required or suggested, I just did it myself).

2 weeks out, my mom still helps me... unwraps my bandages, towels me off where I do not stretch TOO far, wraps my bandages back up, and helps me dress, and does my hair especially... I am doing more and more, but my mom is so caring and is always there for me not wanting me to push it too far.

2 weeks out, some tenderness in some areas... LOWER ARMS (FOREARMS) muscles HURT (because of compensating and using them the most, to not use upper arms)... very minor bruising (faded bruising)... starting to stretch more, but still cannot lift arms completely over head or fully to feet quite yet. Incisions still numb, still some of the tape/glue stitching stuff remains, except in underarm area where it flaked off and the incision is a little red/pink and very tender to touch and tender to stretch arm too much.

ALL and ALL: I am VERY PLEASED with my surgeon, and his whole team... even just 2 weeks out... I am so happy I did this... I KNOW I traded off the flabby skin- batwings for a scar (still to be determined over the next year just how visible it will truly be)... but, I am VERY HAPPY SO FAR!!!

Dr. Crabtree

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Comments (6)

Thanks for your reply!!! Funny you should mention Dr. Healy, I went to him for a consult!!! I agree, his work looks top notch...and his price reflects it!!! I have been to 2 surgeons on island for assessments, their prices were $4k apart!! Hence, my dilemma of choosing. I am seeing Dr. Wong (who is all over this site!), and made an appointment with Dr. Crabtree. Dr. Crabtree was actually mentioned by my ENT @ Tripler, when I asked if he could lend some advice.
I have had other skin removal (tt, breast lift), due to my weight loss...scars just vary. Most the pics of arm lift scars are pretty brutal :( In fact, Dr. Healy told me that the scar will b noticeable. I think I am going to look into scar laser treatment, no matter who I go with.
The price u paid was a STEAL for this surgery....I figured you had Kasier and that was what cut the cost.
If you don't mind sharing, how much was ur body lift?

Thanks!!!!
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Aloha Honolulu Mama,
I actually had my arm lift done at Kaiser, the Kaiser Aesthetic Center, they did great, BUT it is NOT covered, so I paid and the cost was extremely reasonable at that time... Not sure what the cost is now. But, I also had a lower body lift the following year, but that was with another location, with DR. HEALY (in Aiea / Pearlridge area), and he & his office are AMAZING! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DR. HEALY for any cosmetic surgery, and I have had compliments on his work, especially the precision surgery cuts he made are top notch, a few people I know that have had similar surgeries and some that know about cosmetic surgery well all said my doctor is amazing, just by looking at my results & scars.
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Lanakila-
I am looking into an arm lift now and having troble finding the right surgeon on island! Who did your lower body lift?

Also, did you have Kaiser which covered your surgery, or did you pay out of pocket?
Thanks so much!
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I am still happy with my results, about 10 months out now.

But, I also had a lower body lift, from a different surgeon, and that surgery was extremely impressive. I think I handled the recovery quite well, and not only do I have extremely good results from that surgery as well (surgery was done September 2010), 3 months ago, I have also started a FOOD DIARY and have managed to drop down from a weight between 180-185, down to 165 as of January 2011. The surgery was not what had me drop weight, since I weighed the same pre-op and post-op, but after the surgery doing a FOOD DIARY and trying just watch my total calorie intake (and try to eat a little heathier, but not "diet"), that is when I started to drop some pounds. :o)
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So how are you doing now? Are you still happy with your results?
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Hi Lanakila,

Welcome to RealSelf and congrats on your weight loss and arm lift surgery! Please keep us updated on your progress.

Would you mind sharing your experience by also writing a gastric bypass review? Thanks!

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