March 21, 2024 | Arm Lift

How to Recover After An Arm Lift Surgery

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The healing process may take some time after getting an arm lift and may require specific aftercare measures. Following these measures makes your recovery faster as well as yields the best results from your operation. 

So even before getting that arm lift, read the aftercare that needs to be done and not only focus on the preparation for the operation. Complications can possibly happen if you are not cautious after the procedure so it is wise to strictly follow what your healthcare provider has advised you to do.  

Understanding Arm Lift Surgery

Recovery Timeline

The journey to recovery after an arm lift surgery varies in duration. Initially, you should anticipate a recovery period of 2-3 weeks for the initial phase. During this time, it’s crucial to follow your surgeon’s advice closely to ensure a smooth healing process.

Full recovery from an arm lift can extend up to several months. Throughout these months, you’ll notice gradual improvements. Key milestones include reduced swelling and increased mobility in your arms. These signs indicate that your body is healing properly.

Brachioplasty Basics

Brachioplasty, or arm lift surgery, specifically targets excess skin and fat in the upper arms. This procedure aims to create a more toned appearance. The surgery typically lasts between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the extent of work needed.

General anesthesia is used during brachioplasty. This ensures that you remain comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure.

Recovery Stages

  • The first-week post-surgery is critical for healing. You must rest as much as possible while keeping arm movements minimal. During this stage, it’s important not only for physical but also mental well-being.
  • From weeks 2-4, you will gradually start increasing activities under guidance. Lifting heavy objects or performing strenuous exercises should still be avoided to prevent strain on your incisions.
  • By six weeks post-surgery, most individuals can resume full activity levels. Nevertheless, always consult with your healthcare provider before returning to any rigorous routines or exercises.

Immediate Post-Op Care

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Pain Management

After your arm lift surgery, it’s normal to feel pain. This discomfort is usually mild to moderate. It often peaks in the first few days following the procedure. To manage this, doctors may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe specific medications.

Besides medication, applying ice packs can greatly help. They reduce both pain and swelling during the initial days post-surgery. Remember, keeping discomfort at a minimum is crucial for a smooth recovery process.

Fluid Intake

Staying hydrated is key after your surgical procedure. Water aids in healing and helps minimize potential complications. You should aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily.

However, not all beverages are beneficial during this time. Alcohol and caffeine can lead to dehydration, so it’s best to avoid them entirely until you’ve fully recovered.

Blood Pressure

Keeping your blood pressure stable post-surgery is vital for avoiding bleeding issues. Regular monitoring of your blood pressure during recovery will ensure any spikes are addressed promptly.

To maintain stable blood pressure, managing stress levels is essential. Also, refrain from engaging in strenuous activities that could cause sudden increases in blood pressure.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

After navigating through the immediate post-op care following an arm lift surgery, managing pain and discomfort becomes your next priority. This phase is crucial for a smooth recovery process.

Medication Tips

  • Make a list of all your current medications, and then let your healthcare provider know what you are taking, as there might be contraindications to the medicines they will be using on your procedure. This is a piece of very important information that you shouldn’t miss.  
  • Antibiotics are prescribed after arm lift treatment to aid in hastening the healing process and avoiding infections as well. Make sure to complete the dosage and required period given to be able to fully complete your medication. 
  • Following your surgeon’s prescription guidelines strictly is essential for effective pain management and infection prevention. It ensures that you are on the right path to recovery without unnecessary setbacks.

Enhancing Recovery Process

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Watching What You Eat

Eating protein-rich foods is important for tissue repair. Include chicken, fish, beans, and nuts in your meals. These help rebuild the muscles and skin affected by the surgery.

Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants also support immune health. Berries, spinach, and carrots are great options. They fight off infections that could slow down recovery.

Limiting salt intake helps reduce swelling around the surgery area. Too much salt can lead to fluid retention, which increases swelling.


Exercise after surgery is still allowed as it aids in the recovery of the body, but take note that too much pressure can harm you instead of helping, so don’t do extreme exercise as your health provider determines what exercises are allowed. 

Gentle walks are perfect as a start-up after surgery, as they don’t require using your arm yet can improve your circulation. Reintroduce exercises little by little while your body is getting stronger. 

Refrain from Driving for Now

Driving requires full arm function, which might not be possible immediately after an arm lift surgery. Typically, you should avoid driving for at least 2 weeks post-surgery

Wait until maneuvering doesn’t cause pain and you’re no longer using narcotic pain medications. Ensure you have regained full range of motion in your arms before getting behind the wheel again.

Minimizing Scars

Apply silicone sheets or gel as directed by your surgeon to reduce the appearance of the scar.  This also hydrates the scar tissue, which can make it less noticeable over time.

Another vital step is protecting your scars from sun exposure. Use sunscreen with at least SPF30+ when going outside. Sunlight can darken scars, making them more visible against your skin tone. 

Once your scars have healed completely, gentle massage improves their elasticity and appearance. This process helps in breaking down the scar tissue.

What to Expect Long-Term

  • You may notice some improvements as early as six weeks post-operation when much of the swelling has subsided. Yet, it’s important to temper expectations during this phase.
  • The journey toward seeing your final results can extend up to a year. This extended period allows for the scar maturation process and tissues to settle and heal properly. Patience plays a vital role in this phase of recovery. It’s not just about waiting; it’s about giving your body the time it needs to adjust and heal optimally.
  • Regular follow-ups with your surgeon are essential during this period. These appointments allow you to track your progress and address any concerns promptly. They serve as checkpoints in your recovery journey, ensuring everything is moving along as expected.

Lifestyle Adjustments

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Recovering from an arm lift surgery requires more than just physical healing; it involves adapting certain aspects of your lifestyle temporarily. 

In the initial weeks following surgery, daily tasks that were once simple may become challenging without assistance.

Here are some adjustments you might need to make:

  1. Plan for help: Tasks like dressing or preparing meals will be difficult initially.
  2. Modify sleeping positions: To avoid putting pressure on your arms, sleeping on your back might be necessary.
  3. Pause certain activities: Prepare mentally to take a break from activities such as lifting weights or swimming until cleared by your surgeon.

These temporary changes support a smoother recovery process by minimizing strain on surgical sites and promoting healing.

Arm Lift Recovery: Take Care of Yourself

Recovering from an arm lift surgery requires patience and adherence to post-operative care guidelines.

The journey doesn’t end with physical recovery. Long-term satisfaction involves embracing scarring as part of your story and making lifestyle adjustments to maintain your new contour.

Your commitment to following these guidelines not only ensures a safer recovery but also enhances the quality of your outcomes. Remember, every step taken towards proper care is a step towards unveiling the best version of yourself. 

If you’re considering an arm lift or are currently in recovery,  reach out to us at the Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery. Let your journey be a testament to resilience and transformation.