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How to prepare for your procedure

  • Please do not smoke (cigarettes, vape, or pipe) or use any nicotine products 4 weeks prior to and after your surgery. Smoking and nicotine greatly impair healing, which can cause increased risk for infection and complications, such as delayed incisional healing or wound opening which lead to worse scarring. 
  • Please stay away from secondhand smoke as well, as this can also cause wound healing problems. If you use nicotine products, you will need to stop 4 weeks prior to surgery and then you will need to undergo a cotinine test prior to surgery to ensure that the nicotine is out of your system.
  • Please do not drink alcohol before or after your surgery (until cleared by your surgeon). In addition, please do not drink alcohol while taking pain medication, as this can have serious, and life-threatening side effects.
  • Please leave all valuables at home. If you have body piercings, kindly remove them prior to surgery.
  • Please have someone available to drive you home. Due to the lasting effects of general anesthesia, you will be unable to operate a car after surgery. A taxi or car service is not adequate either. You will need a family member or friend who can assist you.
  • You may have been asked to obtain pre-operative tests at a lab facility or your primary care physician. Your pre-operative tests (labs, X-rays, EKG, etc.) need to be completed at least three days before your surgery. If you have them done at your doctor’s office, the results will need to be faxed to (210) 362-1582.
  • The surgery facility will call you the day before your surgery to let you know what time and where you should arrive.
  • Shower the morning of or the night before your surgery with your normal soap and water. Do not use deodorant, lotion, cream, perfume, aftershave, oils, or makeup after bathing.
  • Do not take Advil, Aleve, Naproxen, Fish Oil, Garlic, CoQ10, Omega 3,6, Motrin, Excedrin, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, medications for arthritis or any medication that contains these medications for ten days prior to your surgery and two weeks after.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Please call our office if you have an infection of any kind prior to your surgery.
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What can I do to prepare for my arm lift recovery?

To make your recovery faster and more comfortable, we recommend that you prepare before your surgery. Some things you can do include:

  • Prepare a sleeping area that is easy to get to for the first night. For example, set up a couch downstairs to avoid needing to use the stairs. Keep your toiletries close by and prepare food ahead of time. Arrange for someone to be with you the first night after surgery.
  • You may receive your post-operative medications at your pre-operative appointment. You should pick up these medications prior to your surgery.
  • If you’re having an outpatient same-day procedure, you will be released to go home the same day and will need someone to drive you home.
  • Review your post-surgery instructions given to you at your pre-operative appointment
  • If you have a history of nausea or vomiting after anesthesia, please let us and your anesthesia provider know prior to surgery. We can prescribe anti-nausea medications and take extra steps to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery.
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What medications will I be prescribed after surgery?

After surgery you will have some level of discomfort. The goal of pain medications is to reduce pain, but not necessarily eradicate all pain. A good measure of whether you need more pain control is: can you take a deep breath without severe pain? Do not wait until your pain is unbearable to take the next dose of pain medication because it will take longer to get your pain under control again.

When can I resume my regular medications?

  • You may resume your medications after surgery apart from blood thinners which will need to be determined by your surgeon. 
  • Narcotic medications may cause constipation. Ensure you have adequate (>25 grams/day) of fiber in your diet and drink at least 64 oz. of water daily. You may also wish to take an over the counter stool softener such as MiraLAX or Colace once or twice daily.
  • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or make important decisions while taking narcotic pain medications.
  • You will be given a prescription for pain medication. If you are prescribed medications that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) it is important that you not exceed 3500 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol) per day. 
  • You can alternate your narcotic medication with Ibuprofen 600mg every 6 hours. Take ibuprofen with food to protect your stomach from irritation.
  • If you have a history of nausea or vomiting after anesthesia, you may be prescribed an anti-nausea medication (Ondansetron) which can be taken as needed.

How to care for surgical drains?

We typically place a drain on each arm. The purpose of a drain is to remove excess fluid from the surgical area. Empty the bulbs and measure the output whenever the bulbs are half full or at least twice a day. You will be given a sheet to record how much is coming out of the drains. Bring this sheet to your follow-up appointment. In general, drains remain in place until there is less than 30mL (1oz) out of the drain for two days in a row.

Please call immediately if: 

  • Temperature greater than 100.5 F
  • Increasing pain that is not controlled on oral pain medications
  • Increasing redness or size at the surgical site
  • Your drain is not holding suction
  • Bleeding or pus draining from the wound site. If you have bleeding, apply direct pressure to the area for 20 minutes
  • If your wounds come apart
  • Any other concerns
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Am I a good candidate for an arm lift?

Arm lifts are best for removing extra loose skin on the arms. It is not meant to reduce a large amount of excess fat. If you have a significant quantity of excess fat, you may benefit from a weight loss program, weight loss surgery, or liposuction prior to undergoing an arm lift.

What risks are associated with an arm lift?

Risks include poor wound healing, bleeding, infection, fluid collections, wound separation, asymmetry, damage to lymphatics in the arm resulting in long term swelling, damage to nearby nerves, deep fatty tissue may die (fat necrosis), skin discoloration and/or swelling, spitting sutures, poor appearance of scars, numbness or changes to sensation on the skin, and need for additional operations.

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