Arm Lift Surgery Was Worth The Recovery
Procedure specific satisfaction rating
I'm 7 months post-op from arm lift surgery. I had gastric sleeve surgery 3 years ago and I lost a lot of weight. This left me with loose skin all over my body, but the areas that troubled me most were my upper arms and stomach. The loose skin in those areas often made it difficult for me to exercise and I frequently had irritation marks where the skin rubbed together or against my body. I was 32 when I had surgery and knew I was going to have a hard time making it through life carrying around so much hanging skin.
My surgery was performed in a hospital and I was placed under general anesthesia. I did not have a clue as to what was going on during my procedure. I woke up with drains in my arms and a compression garment on. My surgery was in the morning and I was allowed to go home in the evening. Before I left, my doctor told me my arm lift procedure had gone really well and he told me to be careful not to rip the sutures, so that the incision healed with a thin scar.
The first night following my surgery I needed to take the hydrocodone painkillers that were prescribed to me. I took them not because I was in excruciating pain, but because I could not fall asleep. The hydrocodone makes you feel really relaxed -- similar to how a few glasses of wine makes you feel -- and makes you fall asleep. I also noticed that my forearms and hands had a good amount of swelling.This was from the excess fluid that wasn't collected by the drains and went down to my lower arms.
Day 2 post-op was honestly fine. My arms were stiff and sore, but there was no pain. I even decided to switch to regular Tylenol and drop the Hydrocodone, because I do not like taking prescription drugs. I wasn't worried about getting addicted to them, I just don't like feeling doped up.
Day 3 post-op I visited my doctor and he examined my sutures. He said my incision line was healing well and told me to keep doing what I was doing. My drains were not putting out a lot of fluid, so he removed them. It hurt when the drains were being pulled out. He took them out so quickly though, that the pain was short-lived.
It took two weeks for me to be able to move my arms higher than 30 degrees. I was always afraid that my incision was going to rip open. It wasn't until 6 months post-op that I even attempted to lift my arms higher than my chest. I was so scared about making any quick movements.
I returned to work 4 weeks after my surgery and now that I'm 7 months post-op, I can honestly say it has been the best decision of my life. My arm skin no longer interferes with exercise and my incisions have healed so well. You can't see my scars unless I lift my arms all the way up above my head. My surgeon did a great job of hiding the incision beneath my armpit and ran in down my arm in a way where it's not visible if you're looking at my head-on.
To all the ladies suffering like I was, and I do continue to struggle with other areas of my buddy, I would recommend getting arm lift surgery. It may not be a fun ride during and after surgery, but it's worth doing to get rid of your 'bat wings.' We're not birds and we don't need wings.