I was 2 years and 3 months post-op vertical sleeve gastrectomy at the time I had my arm lift (brachioplasty) surgery. I was 244 lbs before my gastrectomy, 225 lbs at the time of surgery and was 122 lbs on the day I had my arm lift. I'm only 5'2", so I've gone from being very large to what I consider an ideal weight for me. Along with my weight loss journey, I was left with a lot of hanging skin. The worst and most annoying area of my body was my arms. My hanging skin left me with 'bat wings' and I hated the way they looked when I waved and the way they rubbed against my body when I ran. It was very debilitating because every time my arms rubbed against my body I felt I didn't want to workout, but then I knew that I had to push myself because if I didn't workout what was the purpose of starting this long weight loss journey.
Going into my arm lift surgery, I set my expectations very low. I had no visions of becoming a Victoria Secret model. I just wanted to feel normal again and this made the day of surgery very emotional for me. I had wanted this surgery for so long. From the day that I decided to have weight loss surgery, that was the day I wanted plastic surgery. I knew one procedure would not happen without the other. This is not to say there aren't other parts of my body that could be surgically enhanced, but this was the one part on my body that caused me so much trouble.
My surgery took 3 hours and I chose to stay in an overnight care facility. The procedure was performed under general anesthesia and the whole day was honestly a blur. I don't remember much from it. All I know is that when I woke up my arms were wrapped up with lots of gauze and tape, and there was a drain hanging off each one of my arms. I was so doped up from the medicines they gave me, I didn't feel much of anything when I opened my eyes. I wanted to sleep and so I did...for almost the rest of the day.
Days 1 through 3 of my recovery I was sore and felt pain when I moved my arms too quickly. For me, this was the biggest problem while healing. You'll go to reach for something and forget that your arms have long incisions running down them and you can't move like you used to. This was more so the case when I was taking the painkillers, because the pain wasn't there to remind me that I couldn't move quickly. And believe me, it's very painful if you make a movement that causes tension on your sutures. Things get better once your sutures dissolve.
My drains were removed the 4th day after surgery. My surgeon said they couldn't come out until less than 30CCs were being drained in a 24 hour period. I felt a bit more free after my drains came out, but still needed to be careful with the way I moved my arms.
I returned to doing light cardio 2 weeks after surgery and returned to exercising my arms 7 weeks out. It took around 15 months for my incision scars to fade, even though I would say they are still quite visible. I tell people who ask about my scar that I had a zipper installed on my arms.
Having arm lift surgery has made a huge difference in my life. I no longer have to worry about the excess skin on my arms smacking against my body and I feel so much better about myself. I tell people that losing weight and skin has changed my appearance and self-confidence, but I have not lost my character. I'm still the same person, I just feel better about myself.
My plastic surgeon was Dr. Jordan Farkas in Paramus.