Bra Fat Worse After Brachioplasty?

I'm six days post an upper level brachioplasty. I know I'm still swollen, but I finally put a bra on for the first time in a week. Now my arms are smaller, but I have a massive amount of fat spilling over the top of my bra band on each side which I didn't before. One side is worse than the other. Is this an effect of swelling or of how the incisions were done in my armpits. Also my armpit incisions do not look the same. one is horizontal and the other one curves up in the back.

Doctor Answers 8

Bra Fat Worse after Brachioplasty at 6 Days

    The bra area is probably very swollen 6 days after a brachioplasty.  No brachioplasty should make that area larger after healing is complete.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Armlift is Part of an Upper Body Aesthetic Unit

Thank you for your question.  There are certain parts of the body that make up what are called Aesthetic Units in Plastic Surgery.  These are areas that must be considered together when undertaking treatment. In your situation, the upper arm is related to the lateral chest wall and the lateral breast. Treatment in one area affects the other and they should be taken into consideration.  It seems like this effort was started but may not have been carried to its full extent.  There is a procedure called  an axilloplasty that is used in weight loss patients.  It addresses the excess skin and fat in the armpit and chest wall region.  Bra Fat has different meaings to people, so a specific answer is not possible without an exam and photos.  I would encourage you to discuss your concerns further with your surgeon.  This seems like something that is correctable wih additional skin removal or liposuction.  Good Luck!

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Bra Fat After Brachioplasty

Swelling occurs for at least six weeks after brachioplasty and may take up a few months to resolve.  Follow up with your surgeon and discuss your concerns.  Your surgery was too recent to see the final result.  The upper arm and bra roll are generally separate surgical sites.  The bra roll can be non-surgically treated with cool sculpting.  You could also have liposuction of your back and lateral chest.  Best wishes for a happy final result.

Sarah A. Mess, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Bra fat following Brachioplasty.

Thanks for your question.  I would highly recommend that you go back to your surgeon and ask them these questions.  You have placed trust in that person to perform your surgery, you have to trust them now to manage you in the post operative period.  If you were my patient I would tell you not to worry.  Don't over analyze things at this point.  Even if you thought your results were perfect they will change so much over the next few weeks you need to give things time to settle and allow all the swelling to resolve before you begin to critique your final results.

Shaun Parson, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Concerns after Brachioplasty?

Thank you for the question.

As you can imagine, it is not possible to provide you with precise advice without examination. However, most likely, what you are experiencing is related to “dependent” swelling;  swelling of the upper back area that is secondary to movement of fluid from the arm  surgery backward.   Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to provide you with accurate advice about this concern as well as about the concern you have about incision lines.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Lateral thoracic rolls and brachioplasty

Those rolls that you are concerned about are probably reactive to your surgery that you recently had.  Give it at least a couple of months before making a decision if the 'bra fat' also needs to be addressed as it may diminish to where you no longer appreciate it.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Brachioplasty and post operative recovery

Following a brachioplasty surgery it is very common to experience initial swelling in the areas adjacent to the surgery, including the lateral chest/bra strap area.  At just six days post brachioplasty this swelling is probably near its maximum and should gradually subside over the coming several weeks.  With regard to your incisions, they too will change over the coming weeks to several months.  If there was different amount of of skin excess on each arm prior to your surgery, your surgeon may have had to make the incisions somewhat differently on each arm to achieve the most symmetrical result.  Check back with your surgeon, but give things time, your final result will be more apparent in the coming few months.  Best wishes.

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

Bra Fat Worse After Brachioplast

At six days you undoubtedly have swelling at an near the surgical fields, Assuming that no surgery was actually done in the bra roll area, you can reasonably expect all of that to resolve and to be back to the pre-surgery appearance over the next month or so. The incisions in your axilla should have little or no bearing on the bra roll area. 

If you would consider attaching a photo (preferably with a comparable pre-op) the surgeons responding to your question can give more useful responses.

Thanks and best wishes. 


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.