Phase II: Getting Arms High and Tight - Southlake, TX

Lost weight: ~100#. Tall: 5'11. Large framed. I'm...

Lost weight: ~100#. Tall: 5'11. Large framed. I'm an anomaly amongst women; a freak and I love it! :) Tummy Tuck in 2013. Phase II=Breasts, Arms, and more lipo. Breast lift/augment is under separate review. This review is specific to the arms. Cost associated with this review is estimated portion for the arms; cost savings by combining procedures. Decided to stay with Dr. Obaid; he rocked my TT. Hoping he'll also rock my arms! I've researched, lurked, planned, and asked many questions. Now....now it's time to let go and fall. This review is intended to capture the ins and outs of arm lift recovery for tall women who have lost weight. I share to help; hopefully. Thank you for following/ supporting. July 3rd is the day. Let's get this party started! Cheers all. :)

My Pre-Op Planning :)

Questions I asked at Pre-Op Appt last week:

General -
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:

Baby Wipes
Vitamins (Multi, D3, B12, C)
Milk of Magnesia
Gatorade
Coconut water
Pineapple juice
Pomegranate juice
Apricots in water
Broth soups (low sodium)
Protein Powder
Chicken
Spinach
Almonds
Unsalted whole grain crackers

Compression + Scar + Healing Gear:
Sports Arm Compression Sleeves
Tummy wrap
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!!

So, less than 24 hrs away from surgery. :) Is it an oddity that I'm frequently going to my mirror posing, grabbing, assessing, studying my arms and chest? I think I've become obsessed. Things running through my mind:
>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

Before Pics

Hoping this will be the last sighting of these. Arms and upper side chest remind me everyday that I was heavy. Would be cathartic to rid myself of them once and for all!

Day 1 PO

So really tired and drugged. just a quick update. Hands swollen, arms stiff and sore...but no pain to speak of from the arm lift. Can feel pulling on incisions when i reach too far. Doc stopped at shoulder; did not go down side of chest. Haven't taken a look at the arms yet, just the bit around the shoulder. Can tell already smaller. Maybe tomorrow with shower day I'll take some arm shots (little scared to look!)

Day 2...

Still fairly immobile right now. The arms don't hurt really. I can feel the incisions and when I strain them if I reach too far, but insofar as pain...there isn't really any. That said....there IS swelling! Oh my, is there swelling. Like everywhere! Won't be able to assess how the arm lift is until the swelling goes down. Right now the arms (especially at the shoulders) look like they're pushed and pulled with pin tucks and pleats. I know that can't be the way it will end up so I'm rolling with it trying not to over think it. Just need to get this damn swelling down!

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...

New pics after shower today.

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!!

Progress...

So tomorrow makes 1-week PO. Lawwd! Where has the time gone? Oh, yeah, I slept through most of it! Not much different from yesterday. Surprisingly not much pain in the arms; not near as much as I thought there would be. Swelling and muscle stiffness have been the biggest difficulties over the first week. I put together a collage of week 1 progress. Next hurtle: make sure the incisions seal.

Day 8

Patience is a little thin today. Want to be healed and on with life already!! Incisions are getting more sensitive with each day. Movement is improving, but the cuts are still a little red and tender. And these compression sleeves are getting on my nerves. Like I said, I really don't have patience today! lol

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)

Trying to keep myself positive and progress in perspective. Here are pics comparing before and after ....for week 1. Huge difference I think. :)

Day 14-Feeling Much Better

Just a tad bit of definition showing by now. Think my left arm is looking better than right, but hey...they both look far better than they did before!! :) A long way to go with healing, but today I'm feeling alot better. The incisions are sensitive, but not as bad as earlier this week. Most of the glue has fallen off though there are a few small patches still left. Able to move my arms around a little better too, though not yet quite over head or behind me. When I lift heavy bags I can feel strain on the incisions so I have to be mindful and remember they are still fragile, even though I'm feeling more normal and energetic now. Pain meds now only at night for my boobs; none needed for arms. Just keeping compression sleeves on, cleaning, and coating with Bacitracin ointment to keep any infections at bay while the incisions work on sealing. I'm starting to get excited now! I can see the light at the end of the healing tunnel. So glad I did this. :)

1st Post-Op Appt Done! (Day 17)

Visited my surgeon yesterday to check on everything and get a few stitches removed. Doc said the arms are looking good. The incisions are starting to seal. Nurse said she thinks it might take another week for all the glue to finish coming off.

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

As promised, here are some update pics. :) Stretching has been helping. I can lift my arms now so that my elbows are in-line with forehead. Tricep soreness is now gone, but the incisions are still really tight. A ways to go. I think I might be able to start silicone lotion next week. Only a small bit of glue to wear off then onto scar management. Tightest spot is just under the shoulder, on the tricep. Not quite at the shoulder. Surprisingly the elbows sealed up quickly. No longer sensitive there.

So behind in my updates...

Hello ladies. Just a quick note. Work has been insane lately so have lost track of time. I need to update all the latest and greatest and will do my best to do so this weekend. In short, range of motion is getting better, in full swing of scar management, though the scars have stretched a little. No pain; swelling very small to non-existent...depending on how hot it is outside. Pics and more detail soon to come. Hope ya'll are doing well.
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

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.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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