Is it normal to have numbness to back of arm, above elbow area 11 months post brachioplasty? (Photo)

I had brachyplasty 11 months ago under local anesthesia. During the procedure there were 2 to 3 times on each arm that the nerve was involved because I had seconds of severe sharp pain down to my pinky and my fingers trembled. Lasted seconds while he was cauterizing away the skin. Is it normal to still have almost complete numbness in back of oe arm area of about 3 inches from elbow above. The other arm has slight decreased sensation but not numbness like the left arm. Also is this permanent?

Doctor Answers 3

Arm numbness following brachioplasty

The numbness you are experiencing is a known complication of brachioplasty.  There are several different nerves that provide sensation to the skin of the arm.  The intercostobrachial or medial brachial cutaneous nerves are the likely ones involved.  They are not involved in the movement or function of the arm, just the sensation of the skin.  Whenever we excise large amounts of skin and subcutaneous tissue there is always the possibility of damaging those or other nerves as they go right through the tissue that is being removed.  It is also not at all unusual to have differences from one arm to the other.  The path that the nerves take are slightly different from one side to the other.  Often the sensation improves slightly over time but can be permanent in some cases.  Best of luck.

Newport News Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Is it normal to have numbness to back of arm, above elbow area 11 months post brachioplasty?

Thank you for your question.  It is likely that a sensory nerve branch was injured, resulting in a focal area of numbness on the arm.  Some of this numbness tends to improve over time.  Be sure to discuss your concerns with your surgeon.  Good luck.

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Persistent Numbness

It is not normal, but it is a known complication of brachioplasty surgery to local areas of numbness in the upper arm or even the forearm. It is likely a small or end branch of the nerve that innervates the upper arm was injured enough to remain numb.  This is not the same nerve that caused tingling in your fingers during the surgery. It may improve slightly with time.
Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 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.