Recent Brachioplasty - 2 Wks Post Op. Small 1' Opening Still Not Healing Quickly...

I am doing saline packing on the small wound but is there anything else to speed the healing? Also why are the compression garments worn for 6 wks plus. Thanks in advance

Doctor Answers 12

Wound problem after brachioplasty not uncommon

Minor wound healing problems are quite common after brachioplasty. These occur because the skin is tight when closed under some tension. It would not be unusual for a small wound such as this to require 4-6 weeks for complete healing. The final results are rarely compromised.

Saline dressing changes are completely appropriate. If you are experiencing some discomfort and you are not allergic to sulfa you may want to try Silvadene dressing changes. This antibiotic cream can be soothing and actually promotes wound healing.

Compressive garments are worn for 6 weeks to help control swelling and to mold the arm while you are healing, and also to help keep tension off the wound so that the scar is not stretched. The 6 week time frame derives from research which suggests that it takes at least 42 days for wound strength to become significant after surgery.

Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Delayed healing with brachioplasty

Unfortunately it is not too uncommon to have some small areas with delayed healing after a brachioplasty. The skin quality in this area is unique. It will take several weeks to heal but it will heal well. A scar revision may or may not be necessary depending upon the result at 6 months to one year.

Richard Dale Reynolds, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Small wound openings

It is very normal to have small wound healing issues after surgery. Every patient heals at a different rate. Be patient. As for the garment, I use a compression garment if liposuction is performed for 4 weeks. If liposuction is not performed I tend to take off arm dressings after 2 weeks. Each surgeon has their own way of doing things - discuss your questions with your surgeon.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews


Patience is the key.  You are doing right things.  Juat give it more time.  It is not unusual for minor wound seperation to take 4-6 weeks to heal completely.

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Wound healing and Arm Lift

Be patient.  Our bodies want to heal and it will.  It usually takes much longer than patients expect but for us it is normal.  It sound like you are getting appropriate care and if that is your only concern, it sounds like you are doing well. 

Some surgeons use compression garments while others do not.  It is a preference for some but not all surgeons require it.


Albert Dabbah, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Wound Separation Following Arm Lift Surgery

It's not unusual for patients to have wound healing problems following arm lift surgery. The problem typically occurs where the vertical incision meets the transverse incision. This location is at risk for wound separation for a variety of reasons. These include poor blood supply to the skin flaps in this location and high levels of bacteria that occur in the axilla. Both of these factors can contribute significantly to wound breakdown in this area.

Once breakdown has occurred, wounds tend to heal by secondary intention. Tissue tends to form a layer of granulation and wounds contract. The skin grows over the top of the granulation tissue. In the initial phases of healing, there may be an intense inflammatory response that can make the wound look red and angry.

For these reasons, these wounds should be monitored closely. If infection appears, antibiotics should be started immediately. In the interim, local wound care should be continued with dressing changes. When this approach is taken, wounds tend to heal nicely. Rarely, scar revision may be necessary as a secondary procedure. If you have questions or concerns about how your wound is healing, it's important that you discuss them with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to address your concerns and alleviate your anxiety.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Brachioplasty Healing problems

Unfortunately the arm pit is a difficult area to heal because of frequent motion and high normal bacterial counts, sweating, etc. Arm lifts therefore occasionally have problems like this, especially in the axilla (arm pit).
The most common reason would be absorbable sutures that are reactive and being pushed out  through the the skin but an infection could also be the cause.
The good news is that your arm lift will heal. It just needs more time.
See your board certified plastic surgeon to be checked.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Opening After Armlift

I know this must be a concern for you, but it is unfortunately very common post armlift for patients to have openings occur. You should first consult your surgeon with this issue and they will give you proper instructions on how to take care of your opening in order to properly heal your wound.

When this occurs to my patients I will have them increase their protein levels and to make sure they are packing and doing dressing changes twice a day. Keeping the area clean is essential.

If for any reason the scar does not turn out favorably, you can have your surgeon perform a scar revision or you can consult with another board certified plastic surgeon about your revision. Whichever you prefer if it happens to occur.

I have included a link below that may be of interest to you. Best of luck.

Siamak Agha, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Wound separation after brachioplasty

It is not uncommon to have a small area(s) of wound separation after a brachioplasty - primarily because of prolonged swelling in the operative area and increased tension on the incision with any arm motion.  Keeping the area of separation clean as you are doing will result in healing of the site in an additional two to three weeks. 

Joseph N. Togba, MD
Oakland Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Arm lift and post op care

It is not unusual to have small areas of the incision that open or take longer to heal after having an arm lift, or brachioplasty. Keeping the wounds clean and packing are important.  A topical antibiotic such as polysporin can also help.  It is important to wear the commpresion garments becuse this reduces swelling, which would otherwise slow the healing process and in crease the risk of infection.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

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.