Is this normal and will the skin retract back up? (photo)

I had an extensive arm lift after losing over 90kg in weight. I am 17 days post op. Incisions are healing well. I had a complication in my left arm which saw me back in the OR to remove hematomas. Surgeon removed 10cm of skin from each arm and weighed in at only 470grams. My issue is, I have on both arms a sagging/wobble 6cm from the incision. Is this normal and will the skin retract back up? I also have pain or what feels like "carpet burn" at the back of my arms (which I assume is normal).

Doctor Answers 6

Aesthetic Changes Following Brachioplasty

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It's not unusual for patients who undergo arm lift surgery to be concerned about the appearance of their arms in the immediate post-operative period. It's virtually impossible to make aesthetic judgements regarding the size and shape of the arms when patients are only 17 days post-op.

During this period of time, swelling, inflammation and the wound healing process itself, all contribute to changes in the appearance of the arms. In most cases, it takes about 3 to 6 months before an assessment can be made about the aesthetic result.

At this point in time, your pictures suggest residual skin sag. Many of these findings will improve with the passage of time. It's, therefore, important to wait at least six months before considering revisional surgery.

For these reasons, patients need to be patient and maintain good communication with their plastic surgeon. Their surgeon should be able to reassure them and alleviate their anxiety.

Arm lift arm reduction brachioplasty post op arm lift scar

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At 17 days, it is way too early to determine if you need a revision. I would wait at least 6 to 8 months before you entertain the thought of a revision.
I believe it is essential to wear compression garments for proper arm lift or brachioplasty healing. 
These garments should go from your wrist to your armpit or axillae. Arm garments should be worn 24/7 for the first two weeks and then 12 hours a day for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Is this normal and will the skin retract back up?

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  It is early to try to determine the need for a revision arm lift.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, California

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Is this normal and will the skin retract back up?

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In massive weight loss patients with extreme excess of skin in upper arms I always state a second stage excision may be needed. This is your case..

Arm lift

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  1. You have had an arm lift and re-operation for hematomas,
  2. All within the past 2.5 weeks,
  3. Your arm lift is swollen,
  4. Photos suggests further surgery may be needed,
  5. It is much too early to be sure. Wait at least 6 months.

Arm Lift

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Based on the picture posted, and the angle of the picture, you still have significant amount of fat and excess skin in the upper part of the arm (Pictures does not show the entire arm).

Considering you already had two surgeries, wait till everything is healed, and stable, 3-6 month before re-evaluation and possible liposuction and repeat arm lift

Samir Shureih MD.FACS

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.