How Long Will Arms Stay Swollen After Bracioplasty?

its been 4 months. the arms look great but they are still swollen and tender to the touch. i can feel when they are swelling and getting tight. especially with temperature change. any sugestions or coments are appreciated. thank you

Update: Dr. Neinstein, you said prolonged swelling could be a sign of other things. What do you mean by this?What else could the problem be?

Doctor Answers 8

Swelling Post Arm Lift

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Firm massage can help not only with the swelling but also with the sensitivity.   Place any type of lotion on the opposite hand and firmly massage the scar and under arm 3 x a day for 20 min each.   That should help.   However wound healing is not fully complete for a year to a 1 1/2  so be patient.

Swelling After an Arm Lift

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-Swelling after an arm lift (brachioplasty) is expected, with most of the swelling resolving by 3 months after the procedure. 

-However, some patients, such as yourself, will have continued swelling beyond 3 months that can be annoying. 

-It is likely that over the course of another 3-6 months, this swelling will resolve completely.  I realize it's hard to be patient for the swelling to resolve, but time, more than any other therapy, will allow the swelling to improve.

-Thanks for sharing!

Swelling and tenderness 4 months after brachioplasty

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As I am sure you have heard many times, "wound healing takes a year."  (One of the 10 commandments of surgery!)  This is because there are different processes that happen at different times after a procedure.  Patients don't expect this with aesthetic surgery, that somehow it is different.  My suggestion for the swelling is to get a set of compressive arm sleeves based on your present measurement.  This may help keep swelling under control based on your paying attention to what you have been doing before you get the swelling.  I had a patient years ago that was wondering why her arms weren't improving at around your time, when it turned out her problem was getting into a hot tub before going to bed.  Also if you have areas of tenderness, a vibrating massager often will desensitize those areas and soften persistent swelling.

Myles Goldflies, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

How Long Will Arms Stay Swollen After Bracioplasty?

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                 At 4 months you will still have remodeling that will occur for another few months  or so.                                                                                                                                   Kenneth Hughes, MD                                                                                                                                         Los Angeles, CA

Swelling after a brachioplasty

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These cycles where the arms swell more during the day and are better in the morning is common after brachioplasty surgery and will resolve over the next 3  - 6 months. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Post-Operative Swelling Following Brachioplasty

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The wound healing process following arm lift surgery lasts for over a year. Most of the swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year. The procedure inevitably interrupts the arm lymphatic drainage and this takes time to re-establish itself.

Patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage and limitations on activity levels. It's important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing and should resolve with time.

Significant swelling four months after surgery should be evaluated by your plastic surgeon. In the vast majority of cases, this swelling is probably normal, but in a small percentage of patients, it might represent a problem. Under these circumstances, it's appropriate to perform an evaluation.

If you're concerned about persistent swelling following arm lift surgery, it's appropriate to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to answer your questions and alleviate your anxiety.

Arm Lift

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Swelling after armlift can last up to six months maybe even a year, I like to have my patients have massage therapy going from the hand towards the armpit. Prolonged swelling can be a sign of other issues and I suggest you follow up with your plastic surgeon


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Swelling can persist several months after surgery.  Continue to use compression garments to keep the swelling down.

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.