Under Arm/arm Pit Swelling After Removal of Fatty Breast Tissue? (photo)

On 12/13/12 (about 3 wks ago), my doctor cut away a section of hanging/flabby skin that was about 3"x4". He also removed fatty breast tissue. Still have a "glob" of swelling. Last week, he drained it via needle and got about 3-4 ounces out. I wear a homemade compression garment about 8 hrs/day. WILL THIS SWELLING GLOB GO AWAY eventually? How long will it take? Will it be permanent? Should we do a traditional arm lift (w/ long scar?) Can I do arm exercises w/ weights? I'm soooooooooo unhappy.

Doctor Answers 4

Seromas Following Brachioplasty

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It's not unusual for patients to develop seromas following brachioplasty. This problem may occur for a variety of reasons in the post-operative period. In some cases, patient activity levels are just too high. Regardless of the cause, this problem needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid additional complications. Failure to address this problem can result in the formation of chronic seromas, infection, drainage, wound breakdown and a less than optimal result.

When this situation arises, treatment usually consist of serial sequential aspirations and the use of compression garments. At this point the arms are still numb and can be easily aspirated. This usually addresses the problem, but occasionally more aggressive treatment is necessary.

It's safe to say that the vast majority of seromas are successfully treated with conservative treatment. For this reason, it's important that you continue to see your plastic surgeon on a frequent basis.

Swelling vs Loose Skin after Arm Lift

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      If you do not have buildup of an additional fluid collection in the picture, then you will probably need an extended arm lift.  I usually perform this procedure just to the level that the skin laxity improves.  In you, this is about 1/3 of the way down your arm

Results after a limited brachioplasty

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It appears that you had a limited upper arm lift or brachioplasty.   If you are having problems with fluid collections then your surgeon will need to aspirate it.   One of the problems with limited incision brachioplasty surgery is that you get limited results.  It is possible that in the future, after 6 months or so, you may want to consider a standard brachioplasty.  

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

Under Arm/arm Pit Swelling

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Thank you for your question and for the posted photos. I am having a bit of trouble determining what sort of operations you have had. It looks like you have had a breast lift, but what if anything was done on the arms I am uncertain.

Some pre-op photos would be helpful.

This looks more like loose hanging skin, and I don't expect that resolution of any swelling will make this look better. An arm lift will be the solution. All of this is based on the after photo alone. The suggestions based on an actual exam might well be different. 

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.