Pleating and Uneven Skin After Arm Lift? (photo)

Hello, I am 10 days post op. I am 25; had massive weight loss. Had tummy tuck w/ same PS 5 years ago, he did a great job. This time around I did a breast lift w/ no implants and an arm lift. My left arm is concerning me. It seems they stitched it up too tight in certain places and the skin is gathering up. In the front if the arm there is a big pleat and the back is very lumpy all over. Toward the forearms in both arms there are big lumps. I am going to call him Monday but wanted 2nd opinions.

Doctor Answers 7

Wound Healing Following Brachioplasty

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It's not unusual for patients to have pleating following brachioplasty surgery. The origin of this problem is simple, when discrepancies exist in the length of the opposing wound margins a gathering suture must be utilized to avoid lengthening the incision.

It's important to understand that wound healing is a dynamic process that goes on for 6 to 12 months following surgery. During this time, wound healing continues, swelling resolves and scars remodel.

For these reasons, it's important to be patient and give wound healing a chance. It's also important to maintain close contact with your plastic surgeon and make sure all your questions are answered.

Pleating following an arm lift.

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Thanks so much for your question.  I would agree that it is normal to have some pleating of the skin following an arm lift procedure.  Certainly the majority of the pleating that you show in your photo will calm down and disappear with time.  Give things at least 3 months prior to making any final judgments. 

Shaun Parson, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Pleating Normal

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Thank you for your question and photos. The pleating of skin is normal after an armlift. It will flatten with time. You have a significant amount of swelling, so I would recommend waiting before evaluating your results. All the best.

"Pleating" following arm lift

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I'm glad to hear of your weight loss and that you have had great results with the body contouring procedures.  You are very early in the postoperative period and would encourage you to patiently wait until your final results are visible.  It typically takes up to 3 months for the swelling to subside and up to a year for the final scarring to be complete.  

Your photos demonstrate a usual appearance after such a procedure.  It is very common with body contouring procedures since excision of an elliptical wedge of skin and tissue requires your surgeon to advance the tissue in order to close your incision in a fine, straight line.  I am sure that you will be pleasantly surprised of the appearance as the time goes on, but it may take up to several weeks to months.  The appearance already looks excellent, and would hope that it continues to improve.  Congratulations and hopes for continued great results for you!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

10 Days after Arm Lift and Wrinkling

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   The wrinkled, gathered look is very common after armlifts due to the swelling that sets in and the nature of the surgery itself.  Give yourself 3 to 6 months.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Concerns after Arm Lifting Surgery?

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Congratulations on your significant weight loss and the ability to undergo the arm lifting surgery. Although the areas of concern that you demonstrate in the photographs are clear, I think that you may be pleasantly surprised how well these areas will smoothen out over the course of the next several months and year. Of course, only time will tell whether a revisionary operation will improve the contour, but it is much too early to evaluate and/or be concerned at this point.

 You are doing the right thing by following up closely with your plastic surgeon.

 Best wishes.

Pleating and Uneven Skin After Arm Lift?

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10 days is a bit early to  be concerned about issues other than bleeding and open wound. From what I can see in the photos, nothing is so tight that it has affected the blood flow to the skin. Many or all of the irregularities are likely to resolve with time. One of the advantages in the massive weight loss patient is that some recurrent laxity is the rule, so that even if this were closed a bit too tightly, chances are the skin will stretch and adapt.

Follow up closely with your surgeon. Best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.