Can you use your arms right after an arm lift procedure?

I'd like to know if I'll be able to eat properly and use the bathroom alone after the procedure. I know that I'll probably need help on the first day, but what about the second?


F, 67, New York

Tags:woman age 65-74 arms lift

I met with a plastic surgeon to get rid of excess fat and loose skin on my arms. I've been dealing with my extra skin since I started working out and went through a period of massive weight loss. I'm not getting any younger, I wanted to deal with this issue while I was still young and a good candidate for the procedure. After my arm lift procedure, my incisions were covered in bandages. The doctor told me that the arms were loosely covered in the elastic bandages to reduce swelling. Additionally, the doctor placed small tubes in my arms to drain excess fluid and blood. After two days, my plastic surgeon removed the bandages and I was able to resume my light exercises. The doctor however told me to restrict my exercises to ensure that I don’t stretch my incisions and make them separate. He told me I can resume using the arm normally after six weeks. I kept in touch with my doctor to ensure I was not doing anything wrong until I was comfortable to lift things with my arm. I was advised to not lift my arms above the shoulder level after surgery and avoid any forceful activities with the arms.

Since the surgery usually calls for you to be put completely under, I would suggest having someone home with you. I’m sure you will be really sore and will definitely need an extra set of hands at least for a day or two. Some people, myself included, have trouble with anesthesia, like it makes them feel funny and even sick. With me personally, I get really nauseous when I have to be put under so I need someone to help me just in case I get sick. After the lift procedure is completed you usually have to wear some kind of compression garment on your arms, so you may not be able to use them properly. I think it would definitely be best to have someone else around to help you get all your daily activities done and to help take care of you. Better to be safe than to be sorry, you know.

Honestly, I think you should be fine. That's great to hear that you'll be able to have some help on that first day. If you can recruit them for day 2, I'd recommend it. I had the procedure and 2 days of help was all I needed. After getting home and resting for a good 12-hours of sleep, and staying regular with pain medication, I could get around the house and use the bathroom and all that. I found I wasn't too keen to eat much, because of the pain and the discomfort. So, there really wasn't that much lifting of food to mouth that had to be done. My husband fed me bits here and there and made me smoothies that I could drink with a straw. With proper rest and maybe someone to help you with dressing the wounds on that first day or two, I think you're set to enjoy a rewarding procedure that will renew how you feel about yourself. That's how it was for me. So glad I did it. I finally shed my saggy bat wings and I feel good wearing short sleeve shirts again!

You're right about needing some help on that first day, with those things. But it does get easier. You'll probably be independent on day 3 of recovery. As long as you take some meds for the swelling, and there are no complications, and you get lots of rest. My plastic surgeon recommend drinking smoothies through a straw to keep a steady stream of nutrients going. Post surgery, I found that I was not that hungry. It's hard to keep drinking enough in the days after surgery too. I had this constant feeling of dry mouth. General anesthesia really hits me hard. You'll want to make a point of staying hydrated. I admit that I rather enjoyed the time that I could lay low and have the excuse to catch up on Netflix. A friend came to help me out for a few days and It was nice to get a chance to spend some time with her. What I'd say is enjoy the vacation, arm lift procedures provide a lifetime of long lasting results. Heal up properly and enjoy the reward. Hope your recovery is as pleasant as mine was.

Your recovery period really depends on how active you plan to be during the healing process. After I got my arm lift done, I was told not to stretch them or reach above shoulder height for a while especially in the initial recovery period. After the first day, you will probably be able to go to the bathroom and eat. However, when doing things like cooking, make sure all the ingredients are easy to reach and not above shoulder height.

You'll need to avoid any strenuous activity. I would recommend taking it easy for a few days after pretty much any cosmetic procedure. Keep your range of motion for all activities very limited, and avoid doing anything that activates your upper arm muscles. It would be best to have the number of a friend or family member who could help you after the first day, just in case you realize there are things you need to do outside of your healthy range of motion. Remember: plastic surgery may be an elective procedure, but its still surgery.

I found that I could do most basic activities by the second day after my arm lift surgery. Eating, food prep, feeding my dog and using the bathroom, for instance, were not a problem. However, I was told not to do any heavy lifting for up to two weeks. I was also advised not to drive for a similar period. I found that it was easier for me to have someone else do some of my chores, but it wasn't so rough that I couldn't do my regular house work if I really had needed to. Your doctor will give you specifics based on you as an individual, but I would not worry too much about basic daily tasks. You will be in pain, but you won't be immobile. Avoiding side effects is as easy as using your common sense. If you are lifting weights the day after your surgical procedure, then you are not letting your heal properly.