Arm lift


Now that you’re in the recovery phase from your arm lift (brachioplasty), there are some things you’ll want to know. To download these recovery notes, click here.


  • Do not lift more than 10 lbs (or more than a gallon of milk) or perform any strenuous activities for 3-4 weeks after surgery.
  • Do not swim or use a hot tub until your wounds have healed. This will be about 4-6 weeks.



  • You may shower 48-72 hours after surgery, unless instructed otherwise by your physician. No baths, as we do not want your incision submerged in water. Remove compression wraps and all dressings except any suture strips over the incision.  Gently rinse with soap and water.  Some areas may bleed, but this is normal and should subside quickly when dry. 

Drain Care

  • You may have a drain to remove fluids that collect under the skin. Keep the bulb or container on suction at all times (meaning that the bulb is squeezed down flat). 
  • Empty the drains every 12 hours or more frequently if needed. 
  • Record the amount of liquid in the bulb, and bring the list with you to your post-op visits until the drains are removed. 
  • If there is more than 100mL (a full bulb) in a bulb over 2 hours, please call the office.
  • Watch our drain care video by clicking here.


  • Some postoperative pain is to be expected, your pain medication may take the edge off, but you may not achieve pain free. Call the office if you have severe pain that is not relieved by pain medication.
  • You may take non-aspirin pain relievers such as acetaminophen or Tylenol for lesser pain, but do not take this in addition to your prescribed pain medication (the prescription medication likely has Tylenol in it already).
  • Do not use aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs (Anacin, Bufferin, Bayer, Excedrin, etc), Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen) as these medications interfere with blood clotting and may increase bleeding risks.


Reasons to Call

  • Significant swelling, or swelling on only one area or side.
  • Fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
  • Skin redness and warmth(hot) around your wound.
  • A change in drainage color (green/yellow/thick), foul-smelling odor, or sudden increase in drain volume.
  • Pain not relieved by pain medication.
  • Swelling or numbness in hands or fingers.

Wound Care/Dressings

  • Wear your compression wraps day and night for 4 weeks, except for showers and laundering. If the wraps become too tight or too loose, please re-wrap them.
  • Apply a small amount of gauze over the incisions if they are weeping fluid.
  • The surgical area may have numbness for a time after surgery. Avoid using a heating pad near the surgical area to avoid burning the skin.
  • Most of the stitches are dissolvable and do not need to be removed. We will assess the need to remove any stitches at your 2-3 week appointment.

If you have any concerns or questions, call us at 336-765-8620. We have a doctor on call 24 hours a day.