Ask An Expert About Arm Lift Recovery

Ask An Expert: Tips For A Better Toned Body & Arm Lift Recovery.

With each new year comes new goals and resolutions that we would like to achieve. One of the most popular new year resolutions has to do with our overall physical well-being and getting in shape and working out is often a top ten goal.

Exercise alone however does not take care of all our physical fitness needs since excess skin in areas like the upper arm can keep you from looking fully toned despite a vigorous workout routine.

In today's Ask An Expert series we are discussing additional ways to get rid of sagging and achieve a beautifully toned appearance by tightening excess skin through procedures like an arm lift. 

Read on to discover the fab tips shared by Robert Tornambe, MD of Madison Plastic Surgery about arm lift recovery, how to prepare for surgery and what to expect during recovery as well as after an arm lift surgery.

About Arm Lift Surgery

An arm lift removes excess tissue from the upper arm, which is sometimes called the "bat wing." Like with other body contouring procedures, the surgeon cuts away some of the tissue and excess skin to make the area tighter and more toned. The surgery is sometimes combined with liposuction to achieve the best results.

Arm lifts have grown rapidly in popularity in the last five or 10 years, and new technology has made the surgery more effective with less downtime. There still is a recovery period, though, and it's essential that you follow your doctor's orders so your arms heal properly.

Preparing For Arm Lift Surgery

When you come home from your surgery, you'll probably feel tired and uncomfortable. It's important to prepare everything for your recovery before you have the surgery. You'll need one to two weeks off of work to recover, but you may have to take more time off if your job is labor intensive. 

Get all of your chores and errands done before your surgery, so you can relax and rest once you get home. Stock up your refrigerator with fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, which are all important for keeping your body healthy and energized while you heal. If possible, prepare some healthy meals in advance and freeze them. 

Preparing for Arm Lift Recovery

Make sure you have comfortable clothing to wear while you recover. Prepare some shirts that open in the front and don't have to be pulled over your head. Find a pair of slip-on shoes, so you don't have to lean down to tie shoelaces.

You'll need someone to drive you home after your surgery and look after you for at least 24 hours. Before your procedure, arrange for a responsible friend or family member to help you out. You may experience light-headedness or dizziness when you stand up, so it's important to have someone to assist you.

What To Expect After Arm Lift Surgery

1. Pain, Bruising, and Swelling

Like most surgeries, you should expect some pain and discomfort after an arm lift. Most people don't experience severe pain, though, and it should start to decrease within a day or two. Oral painkillers can help you manage the pain.

Bruising and swelling are both normal, too. Expect the bruising and swelling to peak about a day or two after the surgery. It should gradually subside over the next two weeks, but it might take up to five weeks to completely go away. You can help keep the swelling down by sleeping with your arms elevated over pillows.

2. Compression Wraps

Your surgeon will place compression wraps around your arms immediately after the surgery. He or she will give you detailed instructions for how to wear the wraps. You'll probably need to keep the wraps on your arms until your first follow-up appointment, which is usually about five days after the surgery. You should only remove them for cleaning the incisions, which your doctor will instruct you on.

3. Eating and Drinking

For the first few hours after your arm lift, you should only drink liquids. Staying hydrated is essential for a good recovery. Water is the best option, but any clear liquids will help you stay hydrated. 

After a few hours, you can start eating small, light meals. Some people experience nausea after the surgery, so you should be careful not to eat something that will upset your stomach. Vomiting could cause bleeding underneath your skin, so it's best to stick to light foods.

4. Physical Activity

You should start to walk around as soon as you can, but try not to exert yourself. Walking will reduce swelling and prevent blood clotting. Avoid moving your arms around too much, especially in the first few days of recovery. In the first week, avoid any activities that increase your blood pressure. If your blood pressure rises too much, it could cause the surgical site to bleed.

Avoid any exercise beyond walking for a full month after the procedure. After a month, you can resume exercises that stress your arms, but you should still be careful. Wait six weeks before doing exercises like jogging, heavy lifting, or contact sports. After six weeks, you should be ready to resume your normal activity level.

5. Scarring

There will be some scarring on your arm after the surgery. The visibility of the scars varies from person to person, but you should expect them to be pink and firm for six weeks. After that, they should start to fade and flatten. It may take a year for the scar to completely flatten out with the rest of your skin. 

Follow-Up Appointments

You'll probably visit your surgeon for a post-op appointment about five days after your surgery. During this appointment, your doctor will take out the sutures and remove the wraps or bandages. You'll have another checkup about four weeks after your surgery, so your doctor can make sure your arms are still healing well. 

During each follow-up, your doctor will give you instructions for how to take care of the surgical area. Your doctor will also tell you what you are and aren't allowed to do as your arms heal. 

It never hurts to see your surgeon for an extra follow-up if you have any questions or concerns. If you start experiencing significant pain more than two or three days after the surgery, you should visit your doctor right away. 

* This Lush Fab Glam collaborative guest post is brought to you by:
Madison Plastic Surgery, founded by Robert Tornambe, MD, who is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. He has over 20 years of experience with arm lifts and other cosmetic procedures, and he's considered one of the best plastic surgeons in New York.

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