Why have I received two very different opinions on a brachioplasty?

Had 2 very different consultations from 2 reputable surgeons. Dr. A said I can get surgery on Friday and go to work on Monday with dissolvable stitches on the inside & regular stitches on the outside.Said I would not need any drainage tubes.Never discussed liposuction nor told me about underarm wounds.Dr. B (who has higher reviews) said I should take a week off.Uses only dissolvable stitches. Suggested a little lipo as well. Dr. B said I will need drainage for 3 days.Which one is accurate?

Doctor Answers 13

Both are Ok

There are many ways to achieve respectable results in Plastic Surgery.  Dissolvable sutures may obviate the need to remove them but doesn't mean that the healing is any better.  Sometimes it is worse and leads to suture track marks which are noticeable.  Time off from work depends on the severity of work demands.  Drains are helpful for reducing unwanted fluid collection though are not routinely required for this surgery.  Lastly patient ratings are helpful but 5 stars vs 4 stars may not reliably indicate the true skill of your surgeon.

Providence Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Expectations after arm lift

I personally agree more with Dr. B.  Some liposuction can be done but this needs to be minimal as it can can cause more harm than good due to swelling and increased risks of splitting open incisions.
Drains should always be used and recovery is about 1-2 weeks
Best of luck.

Samer W. Cabbabe, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews


It is hard to give you a recommendation withouta  direct examination. If you do have hanging skin, brachioplasty (arm lift) will give you a good contour. However, it will have scar. Depending on your need, the scar can be elbow to armpit or confined around the armpit. If you have a mild laxity, liposuction/laser may help. It will be best to be examined by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Different options on brachioplasty?

Each surgeon has their preferences as far as how he does the procedure and post-operative routine for patients to follow. I have very great experience especially with post large weight loss patients being President of the American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons. I have learned what works best for the patient with least amount of complications, best healing and limited downtime and I apply this in my practice. So, neither approach is better than another. It is who you feel most comfortable with and the one that with most experience!

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 27 reviews


Hello, and thank you for your question. There are certain many ways surgically to get to the same end point. Because you had 2 separate opinions this may just represent a slightly different philosophy for the treating surgeons. As a general rule we will perform liposuction along the posterior arm if there is some additional fat as I feel it may aid in some skin tightening. We currently used the VASER system for this. We also closed with totally dissolvable sutures and I recommend patients lighten there activities for approximately one to 2 weeks following the procedure.

John J. O`Brien, Jr., MD
Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Why have I received two very different opinions on a brachioplasty

Thank you for submitting ypur question.  Without photos it is difficult to give any advise.  Two diferent sugeons may have two options that are both reasonable.  A consultation with one other or two more Board certified Plastic Surgeon may help.  best wishes.

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Arm lift surgery

There is no way that one can give you more detailed answer without a thorough clinical exam. The extent of arm lift surgery varies depending on individual presentation. Liposuction alone, liposuction with skin excision, as well as extension of scars in armpit and/or forearm will be different from patient to patient. Different surgeons may also have some difference how they approach and treat same problem.

You should follow your common sense and accept the plan that sounds more reasonable to you or even consider a third opinion by a board certified plastic surgeon. Good luck. 

Zoran Potparic, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Different Opinions About Brachioplasty

Thank you for your question. It is not unusual to get two different opinions from two different surgeons as everyone does things a little differently based on their training and experience. Responses to questions regarding estimated recovery time and drainage can also depend on the extent of skin resection and fat removal. I usually counsel my patients to take one week off of work as there can be some swelling, soreness and bruising after brachioplasty that may require extra time off. Typically, I use liposuction and dissolvable stitches. 


Sharline Z. Aboutanos, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Why have I received two very different opinions on a brachioplasty?

No two brachioplasty surgeries are alike.  Some can require significantly more skin  and fat removal and longer recovery times, drains, etc.   Without photos it is difficult to say whether your surgery will require a longer or shorter recovery period.  Either doctor's suggestions/recommendations may be reasonable and it is not unusual for surgeons to differ on the extent of a surgical procedure or their recovery time estimates.  I would just counsel you to plan on the longer rather than the shorter recovery time, just in cases your surgery is a larger procedure.  Best wishes, Dr. Lepore.

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


It's hard to know which is more applicable to you without seeing your photos. That being said, the majority of my patients are told what the second doctor told you. However, if you require a minimal reduction, I can see the first doctor saying what he did. Bottom line, go to the surgeon you feel most comfortable with.

Terry E. Restivo, DO
Napa Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 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.