Doctor had to remove 4 sutures after arm lift because my arm turned white, what happens next?

I had my upper body lift with brachioplasty on Friday. My arm turned white in recovery and the doctor took 4 sutures out near my elbow and covered the area. The open area is about 3 inches long and they put a medicated piece of fabric on the wound and wrapped it in gauze. At my post op appointment the nurse said they would probably wait for it to heal awhile before closing it. How long does it take for a wound like this to heal? Will I need more surgery? Will it effect my results?

Doctor Answers 3


Brachioplasty requires a great amount of attention to details and surgical planning and execution to prevent potential complications. opening the wound because of vascular compression is needed to prevent potentially more serious complications.
The open wound needs to be followed very closely by the surgeon himself and a decision would be made in time whether to close surgically or let the wound heal by secondary intention. Then later one needs to evaluate the scar and decide if the scar need any revision.

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Doctor had to remove 4 sutures after arm lift because my arm turned white, what happens next?

I am sorry to hear about the complication you experienced. It is hard to provide you with specific information, without examination but it may take a few weeks for a wound to heal by secondary intention. On the other hand, it may be possible for your plastic surgeon to close the wound safely (as swelling dissipates). Again much will depend on your physical examination. If the wound is left open to heal secondarily, it is possible that the scar will be wider in this area; if this is the case, you may benefit from scar revision surgery. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with longer-term.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,502 reviews


Hello, I am sorry to hear about your wound problem... I am not sure what your surgeon is planning...but in general the options are to 1. let it heal then come back and perform a revision on the wound 2. Close the wound at a later date...several options for closure 3. Partially close the wound in stages ... as far as end results... There is a good chance that you may need a scar revision down the road with a couple of those closure options. I would expect more surgery.

Paul W. Papillion, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 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.