What to Do About Oozing After Arm Lift?

Two weeks ago, I had Tummy Tuck, Arm Lift, Back Rolls Lift, with over 72 inches of stitches. Everything looks great. Swelling was unnoticeable, no pain, no infection, no odor. I have oozing on my right arm. There are 12 inches of stitches in that area. About 1 1/2 section on each end, there is a steady ooze. I apply a sanitary napkin on my arm every 12 hours. What else can I do to stop it? It's been 2 weeks and I will get my last 3 drains out tomorrow.

Doctor Answers 10

Drainage after body and arm lifting

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First of all, you had more done in one day than I would have suggested but that being said, I think your course sounds normal because massive weight loss patients have copious lymphatic channels that weep when they are cut in surgery. As long as the area is not red, swollen and hot, indicative of infection, this should subside spontaneously. For sure, you should direct this immediately back to your surgeon.

Wound Care Following Brachioplasty

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                  Wound drainage following brachioplasty can occur for a variety of reasons. When extensive tissue resections are performed, the upper extremity lymphatics can be disrupted. In most cases this is easily handled by drains placed at the time of surgery.

                  Occasionally, these drains are unable to handle the fluid that results from lymphatic disruption. In some cases, the drains may not function properly. In other cases, fluid may become isolated from the drain and forms a seroma. Under these circumstances fluid may leak through the skin closure.

This problem usually resolves spontaneously, but occasionally drainage may be necessary when seromas are present. Compression garments and local wound care are also usually necessary. It’s important that your surgeon be aware of the situation because these wounds can become secondarily infected. In the majority of cases the drainage stops with these measures and patients are ultimately happy with their result. 

Oozing after arm lift

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Sounds like you may have a seroma or the drains not functioning well. An infection could also be the cause.The drains were placed to prevent such an occurrence. Follow up with your plastic surgeon who can answer your question the best.

Drainage after Arm Lift?

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Congratulations on having undergone the arm lifting surgery.

Arm lifting is an excellent procedure to improve the contour of the arms and remove  redundant skin and adipose tissue;  the downside is a relatively high rate of unsatisfactory scarring and the need for revisionary surgery.

Drainage from the incision line may be related to lymphatic fluid drainage  or maybe sign of infection. Either way, your plastic surgeon will be able to diagnose and treat you after examination.

Best wishes.

Ooze after surgery from arms

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If your arms are oozing two weeks after surgery, then I would follow-up closely with your surgeon to make sure that things are healing OK.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Healing after multiple body contouring procedures can be challenging

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First, I take issue with those prior surgeons who were critical of your having "too much surgery at one time".  If your surgeon is experienced with single-stage body contouring, and has a solid team to perform it successfully, and you're healthy enough to undergo the surgery, there is no reason you can't have multiple body contouring procedures at one time.  I do this quite often, in fact, and most of my patients do very well. 

You are having an issue, though--drainage from your wounds.  Please see your surgeon for his/her advice and intervention. I usually am happy to have fluid drain out, rather than stay in, but there may be something else going on that your surgeon needs to know about.

Best of luck to you!

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Drainage after Body Lift

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Wide undermining of the skin flaps with an arm lift or any other type of body lift procedure may lead to recurrent seroma formation.  This will subside with time as long as the dead space is suctioned and the seroma does not get infectted.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Persistent drainage 2 weeks after arm lift

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That is quite a bit of surgery you had, and I have no doubt, that you have quite a bit of swelling as well. This can be the source of the persistent drainage, however, you should be noting a steady, daily improvement in this. Regardless, you should be discussing this with your plastic surgeon, who can help identify what the cause of the drainage is.

Nirav Savalia, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Arm leakage after brachioplasty: discuss with your surgeon

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Have you and why wouldn't you discuss this with your surgeon. She/he would want to know!. They are best equipped to tell you what is really going on.

In individuals with alot of upper extremity edema this can occur for up to 3 weeks and may be normal. However, if it is associated with warmth and tenderness it could be a sign of early wound separation or infection.

To limit edema (swelling) many surgeons advise compression garments. You may wnat to discuss this with your surgeon as recommendations do vary.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Lymphatic leak after arm lift surgery

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It sounds like you might have a lymphatic leak within the arm lift wound. These typically resolve on their own, or with the aid of a compressive garment. Occasionally, the lymph fluid forms a pocket (seroma) of liquid that needs to be drained. Talk with your surgeon- it sounds like he/she can handle this relatively minor post-op issue.

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.