Below you will find all the necessary information to ensure that your recovery after arm lift surgery is as quick, comfortable, and successful as possible.
Immediately after your surgery
While you are still under general anaesthetic, Dr. Beldholm will administer local anaesthetic to minimise any pain on waking, and to ensure your comfort on the first night after surgery.
The after-effects of surgery and discharge from the hospital
Following arm lift surgery you will normally return home within three hours, after a postoperative check by Dr. Beldholm.
A prescription for pain medication will be provided to help manage any pain or discomfort associated with your procedure.
While serious complications are rare, around 5-10% of patients experience the most common complications such as wound breakdown, and up to 20% require scar revision or other minor revisions postoperatively.
Surgical garment, dressings, and stitches
You will be provided with a tight-fitting compression garment to protect your arms for up to four weeks following surgery. Dressings will be in place for 10 days after surgery, but you can take showers. Stitches inserted during surgery are internal and will dissolve over the following months, but it’s important not to remove the dressings yourself; a nurse will attend to this.
Please note that with overweight and massive weight loss patients, complication rates are higher than with other patients. You can check the ARM LIFT CONSENT FORM for details of possible complications with this procedure.
As you are still in the recovery phase of the operation when discharged, it’s important to arrange in advance for someone to drive you home and assist you following your operation. Most patients can resume driving approximately two weeks after surgery, but before you attempt to drive, ensure you can turn to check over both shoulders, and can manoeuvre the car safely without discomfort.
You are encouraged to go for gentle walks as soon as possible after surgery to prevent complications and to ensure blood flow quickly returns to normal.
You should be able to sleep normally after your operation, though it may be more comfortable sleeping on your back than on your side.
You will need to wear your compression garment day and night for up to four weeks following surgery, to protect your arms.
You can shower, but you should pat the dressing dry afterwards; avoid using a hair dryer on the ‘HOT’ setting, as your skin may be numb after the operation and it’s possible to burn yourself without realising.
Exercise and activity following surgery
Keep physical activity to a minimum for a week or two following surgery, with only light activities such as gentle walking or light home duties.
What to expect after your surgery
Pain and healing
It will take several weeks until the swelling and bruising fully subside but the compression garment will aid your healing. You may feel some discomfort in the first couple of days after surgery, though this can be managed with pain medication.
Bleeding or severe pain
Please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Beldholm’s office on 1300 588 494 (in hours) if you have any unusual symptoms, such as odour, bleeding, or severe pain. If you have urgent concerns out of hours, please call our emergency number on 0499 588 444.
Return to work
Most patients can return to non-manual work and normal social activities in around two weeks. If your work requires strong physical activity, you should plan for four weeks of recovery time.
To optimise your surgical results, it’s best to stop smoking for at least four weeks after surgery.
Post op appointments
You will see Dr. Beldholm immediately before being discharged from the hospital and, if possible, the next day in his clinic. After approximately 10 days, the nurse will review your wounds and remove the dressings.
We recommend a course of LED light therapy postoperatively, as this will improve healing time. Please refer to your LED light therapy information sheet.
Routine follow-up appointments will be made with Dr. Beldholm at one, six, and 12 months after surgery.