Arm lift swelling and poor results (Photo)

I am 12 weeks post op from brachioplasty. One arm is more swollen than the other and the results are fair My elbow area is very swollen where the hole for draining was put in. Been wearing compression garments regularly. Any advice, is my elbow infected ? Should the result be better?

Doctor Answers 7


Your photos do not show more swelling or evidence of infection. However, these diagnosis are best made with an in-person examination. Posting before and after photos is the best way for us to evaluate the results. Have your plastic surgeon examine you now if you believe there's an infection brewing! Best, Dr. ALDO

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 201 reviews

Arm Lift/ Brachioplasty/Skin Tightening/ Body Contouring/ High Definition Procedures

I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon as every surgeon has their own respective post op protocol for his/her patients.  Your surgeon is your best resource as he/she is most familiar with your medical history and how you are healing at this time.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Brachioplasty late swelling

Difficult to tell how "fair" your results are without before photos (and the after-photos often look much better from the posterior/behind view, by the way, with respect to recontouring).  Prolonged swelling may be related to how much fatty excess there was to begin with, and how active you have bee post-operatively.  I suppose a fluid collection could possibly be present, but the drain should have helped prevent that early on, and I believe you'd see more generalized redness (and possibly drainage; same with infection).  Continued compression should help of course, and I've recommended professional lymphatic massage in similar situations regarding prolonged swelling in extremities, but definitely check with your surgeon first.

Paul M. Steinwald, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Brachioplasty, bad outcome or not?

Hi JWilson,Thanks for your question and photo. Your arm still looks swollen but not sure how much fat was removed or what you looked like before. Asymmetries after surgery are common but typically normalize over time. The swelling where the liposuction hole is common but it does not appear infected but please check with your plastic surgeon to make sure there are no actual issues. Scar massage and discuss your concerns with your surgeon. All the best, Carlos Mata MD, MBA, FACS #brachioplasty #armswelling Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Carlos Mata, MD, MBA, FACS
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Arm lift - one side more swollen.

Thank you for asking about your arm lift.
  • You will still be swollen and this should improve over the next three months.
  • There is always some asymmetry - one arm is always smaller than the other.
  • Infection would be unusual this late after surgery - you should ask your surgeon if you are concerned.
  • Be patient and see your surgeon for a 6 months' check if you are not pleased with the final look.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Arm lift swelling and poor results

Thank you for your question. It is not uncommon minor swelling and asymmetries from surgery. Based on the picture it looks like a good result. Please express your concern to your PS.

Ven Erella, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

How to decrease swelling after brachioplasty

Having swelling 3 months after brachioplasty is not unusual, the swelling can last up to a year, it is also common to have some asymmetry, one arm may heal faster than the other.  Wearing compression garment helps, but you may also benefit from lymphatic massage. Ask your plastic surgeon if he or she knows a massage therapist that they will recommend. Most of the time the results get better with time.

Patricia Yugueros, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 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.