Arms First, More Later -Rochester, NY

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I have lost more than half of my body weight...

I have lost more than half of my body weight through diet and exercise and recently consulted with a surgeon for staged skin removal surgery.
We decided that an arm lift should be the first procedure, followed by a breast lift in a few months. My surgeon will not combine these procedures due to the risks involved with healing long scars.
I'm scheduled for 1/17/2014.

Before photos:

Adding photos of my wings.

Moving along

Just received a call from the surgeons office, pre-op at hospital will be this Friday, 1/3/14. I should have more information from them in the mail later this week.

Got on the scale this morning and weighed 153. I'm 5'9" and have been about 10 pounds lower than this but looked older and a little scary so I have been eating more.

However, the eating more has added weight to my midsection so I'm going to try to get back below 150 before the arm surgery by tracking my intake better and exercising more.

Weighing and waiting

My weight is now back down to 148. I just needed a few days of eating my regular meals to get rid of the holiday bloat.

The pre op at the hospital was pretty brief and I was supposed to see my regular doctor for clearance tomorrow but we are having a blizzard, so that is canceled.

I will call first thing Wednesday and hope that he can fit me in.

I will see my surgeon the afternoon before surgery for consents and mark up, hopefully the weather will stay calm after this storm moves on since I'm driving quite a distance to his office.

The nerves haven't kicked in yet, but they will.

1 week to go

I had my medical clearance with my regular doctor this morning, he agrees that I need to have the excess skin removed and wrote a letter to the PS and insurance.

I'm adding a photo of my arm in a tshirt - I would never wear a short sleeved shirt outside the house because of the ugly.

Less than 12 hours to go

Today I saw my PS for mark up and last minute questions. We decided to extend the incision into the back of the armpit to pull up some of the extra skin there.

I have my pain meds and antibiotics plus I picked up some dry shampoo because I will stay bandaged for 6 days which is when I'll have my first follow up. At that point, I should be able to ditch the ACE bandages and switch to the compression garment.

We need to be at the hospital by 5:30am for surgery at 7 and I could be out by mid afternoon.

I think the waiting to see my arms will be worse than any pain.


Surgery went well. Pain only on left where the incision extends from the armpit to the bra line.
Doctor told my husband that he took less skin than he had marked to keep things proportionate.
As long as nothing flaps, I'm good.

Pain Control

I took a total of 7 lot tabs after coming home from the surgery but decided to switch to Motrin this morning. I now have no pain or discomfort although my arms are somewhat swollen. I think I can manage to get a quick cleanup done this morning - no showering yet, but my sister is coming by to help with my hair.

From what little I can see, the arms look great. Most of the discomfort is coming from the area where the incision extends down the side of the chest and at the elbows where the cutting stopped.

Mostly pain free

I have very little discomfort today and have ditched the Motrin. I just took the last antibiotic and pulled my bandages tighter because the swelling has gone down.

I can tell that my scars are placed in a perfect area and are nice and straight. I can't wait to get a good look at everything when I see the PS at the end of the week.

I burst into tears

when I saw my arms today.

They are so beautiful!

My PS says that they are healing well and now that I'm free from the wraps and into a compression garment, I can shower (which I did as soon as I came home) and slowly work on restoring the range of motion.

My husband told me, right after surgery, that the PS said he took less skin than marked, but actually he took more skin. I now have very little swelling, but the scar placement is perfect and very even and the proportions of the upper and lower arms are great.

I'll get photos in the morning and post them here.

Also, we did decide that the next stage will likely be a thigh lift, saving breast work for Fall.

After photos

2 weeks

My arms continue to heal without issue. The swelling is minimal and the discomfort is not too bad. I do tend to feel more pain later in the day if I have been active so I'm trying not to do too much. The steri strips are coming off slowly and the incisions look terrific.

Look at that skinny arm

I saw my PS today and everything looks great. I will continue to wear my compression garments and start scar treatment in a few days. A few stitches were clipped since they had worked themselves out, but that was painless.

I can now raise my arms a few inches above shoulder height and that should continue to improve in the next few weeks.

4 weeks

I'm at the four week mark today and I have very little pain or swelling. My incisions are starting to flatten a little and the bunchiness at each end is also smoothing out. My range of motion is nearly completely normal and I'm having less trouble lifting and pushing, although I do continue to watch myself.
I have added a long sleeved CG to the rotation and that seems to make my forearms more comfortable and smaller, without affecting my wrists or hands.
My only issue is a few more stitches have worked up to the surface. I will see how they look in a few more days and see my PS if they don't improve. I would clip them myself if I could reach.
I'm going to continue the CG for 2-4 more weeks. They are comfortable and go under most of my clothes without showing.
I did have a dress up thing earlier in the week and I spent 4 hours without the CG and wearing a regular bra. I had to loosen the bra because it hit the end of the scar on my chest, but the arms did not hurt or swell very much until the next morning. Even then, it was only a few hours of swelling.

6 weeks

6 weeks seems to be the magic mark where the pain is almost nonexistent, the scars look great, the range of motion is almost perfect and the swelling is nearly gone.

I'm no longer feeling tightness and except for an occasional nerve twinge, the sensation is fairly normal and even. I've had a few stitches pop thru, but they have been easy to wiggle out with tweezers. I've also been wearing the CG less and less, I still wear it at night and at the gym, but I go without for a few hours at a time. My PS suggested I wear it for another two weeks, if possible.

I'm still being careful about lifting for another 3 or 4 weeks, but with my Thigh Lift scheduled in 6 weeks, it will be great to continue to feel normal before that recovery period.

I'll try to get photos over the next few days, although the arms look about the same. They now measure 9 1/2 inches and all of my clothing fits with arm room to spare.

No complaints

I flat out love my "new" arms. My incisions look so good, even though the ends of a few of the staples (I thought they were stitches, but they turned out to be Insorb staples) have worked their way to the surface, mostly along the sides of my chest.

When one starts to bother me, I use a warm compress and then grab it with tweezers - it's just the v shaped end that comes out and the hole closes right up. This is common in the chest area, according to google.

I expect to continue to heal over the next few weeks and to be completely ready to have my long thigh lift on 4/11. I'm also hoping that that recovery will go as well as this one has, although I can credit my PS for not wanting to cut too much at one time.

I'm still wearing my CG at night or when I expect a strenuous day, but it feels great to be back in a regular bra and back at the gym.

I also want to say

that fixing my arms has had a profound effect on my body image. When I see myself now, I see a slender person with strong and graceful arms. This makes me feel secure and confident and very far removed from the person who weighed 325 pounds.

I can't wait to get the legs done.

Nearly 10 weeks PO

Continuing to heal without issue, love the results and super excited about my Thigh Lift in 15 days!

3 months out

I'm also a week out from a medial thigh lift. My recovery from that has been very easy, probably because of my comfort level with my PS and my having no apprehension about another procedure.

My arms continue to amaze me, I doubt they have looked this good since grade school. I can now wear size xs tops and still have room in the sleeve. I'm really looking forward to warmer weather and being more active once my thighs allow.

My next procedure will be in July to redo my TT and possibly a breast lift. By the end of the year, I should be free from the worst of my excess skin and seeing the progress has really made me confident that I will stay at this weight very comfortably.

My scars do not bother me a bit, they are healing well and are a reminder that I have been very blessed to find my way back to health.

Scars at nearly 6 months

My arms continue to delight me. Now that the warm weather is here I'm wearing tanks and short sleeves. My scars only show a little from the back but I have not noticed that anyone really sees them. There is no pain at all and I'm glad that they were fully healed before my recent tummy work as I needed my arms to get me out of chairs.


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