After Surgery Instructions: Arm Lift

After Surgery Instructions: Arm Lift


GOING HOME: When you go home from the hospital, you will have a gauze wrap around your arm.

AFTER 36 HOURS: Remove the dressings. You can remove all of this, but leave the steristips on the inicisions alone. It is okay to shower and get the steristrip wet. Pat dry, then place your arm garment back on.

AFTER ONE WEEK: Steristrips should fall off in the first week. If not, it is ok to remove them. You may have some small sutures at your incision site under the steristrips, leave these alone and they will fall out by themselves, or we can remove them at your next appointment.


AFTER SURGERY: Shower after 36 hours, then pat dry.

ONE MONTH: Only showers for one month. No tub baths, Jacuzzi or swimming for one month.

AFTER ONE MONTH: It is okay to go back to swimming.

Exercise and activity, driving

AFTER SURGERY: You should refrain from high impact activity and limit your day to day activities to support your healing. Do not lift anything heavy. Do not do house work or chores. Do not drive for at least three days if you are taking pain medication.

ONE WEEK: It is okay to walk on the treadmill, elliptical at low speed, or walk outside. You may get tired easily for the first month after the surgery. Listen to your body, and rest as needed.

ONE MONTH: It is okay to resume regular exercise after a month, but listen to your body. If it hurts, don’t do it. It is okay to resume sexual activity after one month as well.


AFTER SURGERY: Eat only soft foods in small quantities (soups, small sandwiches, rice) to prevent nausea. You can resume a normal diet when you feel like you can tolerate it (usually 36 hours).

ALCOHOL: Do not drink alcohol for at least two weeks after surgery.


SWELLING: For one month you be swollen and uneven. This is totally normal. This may last up to 6 weeks. You can use bags of frozen peas or corn for the first few days if the coolness makes you feel better.

SIZE: One arm will be more swollen than the other, one will be bigger than the other and higher than the other. This is normal and will get better.


FIRST WEEK: take pain medication and muscle relaxant as needed.

ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH: use over the counter medication and try to get off the pain medication. It is ok to use Tylenol OTC. Avoid using Asprin or Motrin (ibuprofen) for one month.

AFTER ONE TO SIX WEEKS: You will notice electric shocks, itching and over sensitive skin. This is normal and will take up to 6 months to go away. Massage will help. If the hypersensitivity becomes intolerable, please call us and we can prescribe medication to help.


You may feel bloated following your arm lift. This will resolve in a few weeks and is normal. You will weigh more on the scale as well, this is due to the swelling and is normal.


Small fluid filled blisters may occur around the area of tape. This is due to the stretching of the skin. Remove the tape and do not pop the blisters. Leave them alone and they will resolve in a few weeks.


This is due to the pain medication. Try to take cut back on the narcotic pain medication and use Tylenol OTC. Also use the Colace. If this does not work , you can get some Milk of Magnesium over the counter, or drink a bottle of magnesium citrate. A ducolax suppository may also help. This is all available over the counter.


Most of your stitches are under the skin and will dissolve on their own. You may have some small sutures at your incision site under the steristrips, leave these alone and they will fall out by themselves, or we can remove them at your next appointment


Sleep on your back and in a propped up position for at least one week. A recliner will help. You can sleep on your side or on your stomach when it is comfortable. If you are having trouble sleeping, take a muscle relaxant before you go to bed, this should help.

Incision and Scar

To help your incision heal better, after one week start placing the brown tape on the incision with vitamin E oil over or under the tape. ONLY USE THIS IF THE INCISION IS TOTALLY DRY AND HEALING WELL. Neosporin cream or antibiotic cream is not necessary. Your scar will be red for quite some time. This is normal. It may take a year or longer for the scar to totally fade.

Content written and approved by Darshan Shah, MD Plastic Surgeon.