Phase II: Getting Arms High and Tight - Southlake, TX
Lost weight: ~100#. Tall: 5'11. Large framed. I'm...
My Pre-Op Planning :)
1. Estimated duration of surgery: 5-6 hours
2. Anesthesiologist & Assistant Dr. names: Couple. Will know day before surgery.
3. What should I expect when awakened in recovery: Shouldn’t have much pain. Will feel like elephant is on chest. Arms and chest will be in compression garments. Recovery can take a couple of hours before released.
4. What compression will I be sent home in: Bra and sleeve. Contour MD.
5. First bandage change: No bandages. Just compression.
6. Start cleaning incisions/ shower: 48 hours. Don’t scrub incisions; lightly wipe and pat dry.
7. Frequency of post-op appointments: 1-week; 3-weeks; 6-weeks; 2-month; 3-month…then tbd.
8. Multi-Vitamin/ B12/ C/ D3/ >100 g Protein (miss anything?): Nope. That’s everything.
RE Arm Lift-
1. Will there be incisions in armpit: No.
2. Extended? How far: Yes. Elbow (no ‘J’ incision) along back of arm, down side of chest.
3. Drains: No drains.
4. Stitching plan? (concerned about opening): Two layers of internal sutures.
5. Tape/Glue on incisions: Glue over incisions. Lasts multiple weeks. Do not pick off.
6. What, if any, impact to lymph nodes: No nodes will be removed. Aside from normal swelling, no impact.
7. What should I expect insofar as symmetry: In OR sit me up and look at different angles before closing.
8. Sports compression sleeves ok? If so, when start: Will be sent home with sleeves, but can use athletic sleeves as well. Immediately.
9. Restrictions on use of deodorant: None on day of surgery. No incision in armpit, so no restriction during recovery.
10. Recommended exercises/ massages: Will explain, demonstrate during post-op appointments.
My Shopping List:
Vitamins (Multi, D3, B12, C)
Milk of Magnesia
Apricots in water
Broth soups (low sodium)
Unsalted whole grain crackers
Compression + Scar + Healing Gear:
Sports Arm Compression Sleeves
Front Zip Sport Bras
Front Button Night gown/ house robe
Silicone Sheeting (order after 1st post-op apt)
Silicone Lotion (purchase from PS at 2nd post-op apt)
6 A.M. Tomorrow!!
>will my elbows be stiff?
>how will the incisions heal? will they open?
>will my silhouette change to what I want?
>how immobile will I be? (I'm alone, without help)
Lots to do today. Work wrap-up, groceries, clean, laundry, set up recovering space/ recliner/supplies, schedule taxi for early pick-up, then sleep (ha!).
Bought some compression gloves yesterday. Knit gloves designed to improve circulation and reduce swelling. Don't know if they'll work, but hey, why not try. Worried about swelling. Also have another pair of compression sleeves in case I need them. Don't know if those will work either, as Doc advised me that he intends to extend the incision down the side of my chest. I'm concerned that the sleeves might irritate the incision line at the shoulder. I might have to cave and purchase one of those long sleeved/ vest deals that are all-in-one. I guess I'll hold off until the two-week mark to make that decision.
Well, guess I've done all I can do to prepare. In the end, I have to trust the skill of others while I'm completely passed out on the table, and my body to cooperate. Gawwd. I hope this journey is pleasant! I'll roll with it if it isn't, but shit, would like a bone for something not too difficult for a change. ha!
Will vow to post some before pics tonight. Not sure whether I'll make it online tomorrow after I get home, but will try.
Wish me luck! :D
Day 1 PO
Been drinking plenty of water and electrolytes but I'm not peeing much. Not near as much as I should be. Going to give it another day before I start worrying.
Swelling, pain, motion, etc...
Definitely more swelling in the upper arm today, rather than in the lower arm/hands. Not too bad though, considering. Been sleeping in my recliner with pillows propping my legs and arms up. That has helped a great deal with keeping swelling down in the hands and feet. Pain: still not too much, though the incisions are becoming more sensitive. When I pull on my compression sleeves, reach around to put on my button-up shirt, reach low to wipe myself....i feel the strain on the incisions. Being careful, but wondering whether these moves will open the incisions up once the glue wears off. Might ask doc at next visit whether he'd be ok putting more glue on just to be safe.
Range of motion is improving. I still cannot reach straight up above my head; however, I can reach up a shelf or two in my cabinets now. I successfully shaved my legs, pulled on all my sexy compression gear, washed my hair, and dressed myself without issue. If I had to pin point an area on the arms that is most sensitive right now....I'd have to say right at the shoulder joint. That's where most of the pull happens when I use my arms. The second most sensitive would be the incision right on the elbow. Just a little spot, but when I bend my are too far that's where I feel it; right on the elbow.
Shape: I can see a huge difference already; alot was removed. Thought for sure my arms were more muscular than what is showing in these pics. Afraid to flex fully yet. I already love the results. The scars don't bother me a bit. The fat lip over my elbows are gone!! Only thing really is how the shoulder area is going to pan out. Not convinced yet about that joint area looking good; holding on judgement until further into healing. But the arms themselves.....love 'em!!
I pray I heal without issue. Two more weeks of anxiety....ugh. I'm going to take a break this weekend and get my mind on something else. Couple update pics attached. Meet with doc Monday for post-op #1. Will update again after that. Have a great weekend ladies. :0)
Before-After (Week 1)
Day 14-Feeling Much Better
1st Post-Op Appt Done! (Day 17)
Asked the doc about stinging I've been feeling at the top of my arm, right at the joint of the armpit. The stinging happens when I stretch too far, like when I put on a t-shirt or reach across my body to grab something. So he laid me back in the chair and moved my arms around a bit looking at the range of motion and the incisions. He said that he wants me to slowly start pushing through the stinging a bit to start to improve the range of motion. The stinging is the skin tightness....not splitting of the incisions (which is what I was thinking was happening).
Right now I can only lift my arms partially up....elbows at about eye level. I can reach the back of my neck only if I dip my head forward. So I'll be starting slow stretches starting today to try and improve that. Also still wearing compression sleeves. I'm starting to get used to them. I showered before my post-op appt yesterday and left the sleeves off while driving to the docs office....thinking why bother, I'll just have to take them off again in 20 mins. They swelled up in as much time! So back on they went, as soon as the doc was done.
My next post-op appt is in 3-weeks. Due to my incisions still not being fully sealed I can't start my silicone lotion/ tape yet. Still have a tiny bit of bruising at my shoulders and along the back of the arms, but the Arnica and the Tart Cherry Juice I've been taking seem to really be helping. I'm thinking in another week all discoloration will be gone. Oh, and since Sunday I've started feeling small, short zings episodically at different points along the incision lines. My nerves are starting to regenerate (yay!). Don't have as much numbness as I thought I might, but there is some.
Well, that's about it for now. So far so good. Will post update pics at week's end.
Week 3 Done...Day 23
So behind in my updates...
I have a couple reviews now on Sacha Obaid, MD. He performed my tummy tuck in 2013. This year I went back to him for my arms and breasts. He and his staff continue to impress! Aside from the trust I already had in Dr. Obaid because of my previous experience with him at North Texas Plastic Surgery, I decided to go to him for my arm lift when during my research I discovered that he co-authored the Brachioplasty chapter in Essentials of Plastic Surgery: A UT Southwestern Medical Center Handbook, pp. 891-900 (Ed Jeffrey E. Janis, MD. Quality Medical Publishing, Inc.). No small feat to publish in peer reviewed medical books! No doubt remained that he would know how to make my arms beautiful!! And wow, he did! I am very pleased with the results, have been healing well, and have zero regrets. If you're considering an arm lift, I highly recommend going to Dr. Obaid. You won't be disappointed.