15 Days Since Brachioplasty. Wound Separation in Underarms. How Long to Repair Itself?

Hi, I had a brachioplasty with lipo 15 days ago. A few days ago I noticed minor separation on one underarm and pretty bad separation in the other. The doctor gave me Aquacel to dress it. She didn't seem very worried, explained this is very common in the underarms, and was optimistic that it would heal well. My question: How long should it take to heal? Does this mean I may have really terrible scars where the wound separated? On a happy note, the rest of the incision is healing wonderfully!

Doctor Answers 7

Wound separation after brachioplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Some separation is not uincommon and will heal by itself over time.  Once the scar has fully matured (3-6 months) you may require a minor scar revision.  Regular soap and water and the use of absorbent dressings is really all that is required for now.

Arm Lifting and Open Wound?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I'm sorry to hear about the complication you have experienced after arm lifting surgery. Depending on the size of the wound, it may take a few weeks before it heals completely. In the meantime, I would suggest continued close follow-up with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to advise you more precisely.

Best wishes; hopefully you will be very please with the long-term outcome of the procedure performed.

Brachioplasty and Incision Separation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

    The incision at the axilla is very prone to separation as this is an area of tension and is subjected to additional tension during movement.  This will heal uneventfully provided it is small.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Healing occurs about 1mm a day

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In general, wounds heal at a rate of about a millimeter a day. This is based on the width of the separation and not necessarily the length. Many factors play a role (your genetics, nutrition, local factors like pressure and moisture, and whether the deep layer of sutures is still holding). This is unfortunately somewhat common after body contouring, but most of the time the scars are still acceptable. The good news is that even if you are not happy with the scar, a revision is usually quite easy under local anesthetic once things are well healed (6-12 months).

Dana Goldberg, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

The Management Of Wound Separation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It's not unusual for patients to have wound healing problems following arm lift surgery. The problem typically occurs where the vertical incision meets the transverse incision. This location is at risk for wound separation for a variety of reasons. These include poor blood supply to the skin flaps and high levels of bacteria that occur in the axilla. Both of these factors can contribute significantly to wound breakdown in this area.

Once breakdown has occurred, wounds tend to heal by secondary intention. Tissue tends to form a layer of granulation and wounds contract. The skin grows over the top of the granulation tissue. In the initial phases of healing, there may be an intense inflammatory response that can make the wound look red and angry. Depending upon the size of the wound this process may take 4 to 6 weeks to reach completion.

For these reasons, these wounds should be monitored closely. If infection appears, antibiotics should be started immediately. In the interim, local wound care should be continued with dressing changes. When this approach is taken, wounds tend to heal nicely. Rarely, scar revision may be necessary as a secondary procedure. If you have questions or concerns about how your wound is healing, it's important that you discuss them with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to address your concerns and alleviate your anxiety.

15 Days Since Brachioplasty. Wound Separation in Underarms

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is not an uncommon problem. Hard to answer specifics without a photo, but chances are your surgeon is not misleading you. How long it may take to heal depends upon how large is the defect, and that info I don't have. This question will best be answered by your surgeon.

Thanks, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Armpit Healing problems after Brachioplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Unfortunately the arm pit is a difficult area to heal because of frequent motion and high normal bacterial counts, sweating, etc. Arm lifts therefore occasionally have problems like this, especially in the axilla (arm pit). It can take weeks to completely heal, sometimes months.
The most common reason would be absorbable sutures that are reactive and being pushed out  through the the skin but an infection could also be the cause.
The good news is that your arm lift will heal. It just needs more time.
See your board certified plastic surgeon to be checked.

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.