Brachioplasty – Post-operative period

Postoperative recuperation is considered to be an integral part of surgery as the complete achievement of the expected results, as well as the success of the operation, depend on it. Therefore, post-operative visits play a pivotal role in the healing process as they allow the early detection and treatment of complications. They are usually held at 7, 14, 28 days, 3, 6 and 12 months post-op.

Upon discharge, a letter with post-operative instructions will be provided; medication prescribed (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, pain-killers); and any necessary precautions will be clearly described.

Good personal hygiene is crucial for proper healing and to avoid wound infection. In light of this, the surgeon will provide clear instructions for wound management. For example, during the first two weeks after the surgery wounds must not be wetted.  Dissolvable sutures are usually used, so there is no need for stitch removal.

After surgery, especially if extended liposuction was performed, bruises may appear, which may take around two weeks to recede. Swelling is more or less evident, according to personal predisposition and the extent of the procedure. Swelling subsides significantly in the first two weeks post-op, but may persist for months afterwards. It may be more apparent on one side. It is normal to experience some numbness on the arms for a few months after the surgery.

In order to prevent the swelling and accelerate resorption, it is essential to wear a specially designed compression garment, for the arms and underarms, day and night for two months. Attention must be paid to the correct application of this garment, as it must be adjusted and adequately fitted in order to provide even and homogeneous pressure, without causing grooves or indentations. For the same reason, it is advisable to sleep with arms elevated on pillows, for two weeks after surgery. From the second month, once site tenderness has completely gone, lymphatic drainage massage or LPG endermologie (a technique for massage and tissue stimulation) help to eliminate swelling and dissolve subcutaneous lumps, which can form after liposculpture.

In most cases patients are unfit for work for two weeks.  If intense physical strain is required, such as weight lifting, longer downtime is necessary.  Normal activities such as driving, house-work, sexual intercourse and socialising can be resumed after one-two weeks, depending on the extent of the surgery and ensuring movements are avoided which involve intense strain on the arms. Lighter sports may be resumed after two weeks, while for more intense sports it is preferable to wait for at least three months.

Arm contouring procedures result in extended scars. In order to achieve the best results, in terms of scar quality and hence visibility, it is advisable to apply paper tape     to scars for three months, replacing them every 10 days. In this way, tension on scars, which may cause scar widening, is reduced.  Afterwards, silicone gel should be applied for a few months, to facilitate optimal scarring. Sunscreens must be applied to the scars for at least three months and elasticizing creams are prescribed for application on the arms.

During post-op visits, starting from the first month, photographs are taken to monitor progress.