Tips/advice on Open Wound/cut After Extended Arm Lift. Pictures Attached- Infected? Too Big?

My Dr. knows, say "keep it clean and dry w/ gauze" 5 weeks post op from Breast augmentation with extended arm lift One side open for about 20 days Smells bad, no fever, feel fine More red then what the picture looks like I try to keep it clean- I just let water/soapy bubble wash over it let it air dry & them when it feels wet tap it dry. What else can I do? How should I wash/dry it? keep it covered 24/7 or let it air out?

Doctor Answers 4

Wound Breakdown Following Brachioplasty 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 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. Depending upon the size of the wound, this process may take 4 to 6 weeks to reach completion.

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.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Axillary Wound Delayed Healing

You have delayed healing in the armpit region.  The wound is not infected.  Moist wound healing is much faster than letting a wound dry out.  Keeping it moist with saline soaked gauze, antibiotic ointment or hydrogel will lead to better healing than letting it air out. Discuss this matter with your surgeon. Best wishes.

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

Arm Lift

The Arm Lift procedure, or brachioplasty, involves a trade-off between loose hanging arm skin for tight arms and a longitudinal scar on the inside of the upper arm/underarm. The biggest drawback of this procedure is the potential for hypertrophic (thickened) scarring in this location. Accordingly, proper placement of the scar is crucial so that it hides on the inside of the arm when the arms are at rest (at the sides). With this placement, the scars become less visible to others. When a large arm reduction is performed, there is a risk of skin breakdown and wound development at the "L" junction, at the apex of the axilla. This is the area of greatest tension and least blood supply. In general, a wound in this area with deep "beefy" red healing (granulation) tissue at its base is not infected and will continue to heal. Dressing changes and routine hygiene is recommended, as is close follow up with the treating surgeon.

Adam J. Oppenheimer, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

Tips/advice on Open Wound/cut After Extended Arm Lift. Pictures Attached- Infected? Too Big?

Congratulations on having undergone the arm lifting procedure. These types of superficial separations may take a few weeks to heal. Close followup with your your plastic surgeon will be important; for example, he/she may be able to help you with exposed sutures and/or removal of unhealthy tissue. This type of local wound care may help expedite the healing process. Best wishes for outcome that you will be pleased with long-term.

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