Arm Lift

Awake Surgery – What to Expect

Discomfort/Pain Medications

● Swelling and bruising are expected. Swelling lasts 1-3 months and sometimes longer. It is not uncommon for the shape to change over the first 3 months.
● Pain - Some pain is expected. You should use only the pain medications prescribed by your surgeon
● Tylenol can be used INSTEAD OF Percocet or Vicodin. Do not combine Tylenol with these medications as they already contain Tylenol.
● Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may be used after 3 days post-surgery to help with pain. This will allow you to use less prescription pain medicine.
● Itching - Pain medicine can cause itching. Use non-prescription Benadryl tablets 25 mg. Take one or two as needed every 8 hours to control itching.
● Constipation - Pain medicine can make you constipated. Take your docusate (Colace) as directed until you have a bowel movement. If no bowel movement after 5 days, you may use a laxative. Natural tea containing Senna is helpful.  
● Nausea – Anesthesia and pain medication may make you nauseated, so keep your diet light for the first day. You may request a nausea medication if needed.
● Do NOT use ice or cold compresses
● Do NOT use heating pads or hot compresses

Dressings and Garments

● Dressings/Bandages – Your incision will be sealed with surgical skin adhesive and a bandage. Do not remove the tape. If it gets wet, pat dry.  
● Showering - You may sponge bathe or carefully shower without getting the bandages wet. No tub soaks, saunas or swimming until all incisions are closed and scabs have fallen off. Usually 4-6 weeks after surgery


● Walking – Starting the morning after surgery, get out of bed at least 3 times a day and walk around your house for a few minutes each time. This helps prevent blood clots.
● Driving - you may start driving once off of narcotics and muscle relaxants.
● Exercise – avoid pushing, pulling, lifting anything over 10 pounds for the first 3-4 days. Strenuous exercise and arms specific exercises should be avoided for 3-4 weeks. Please ask your surgeon for specific recommendations.
● Tanning – Both artificial and natural ultra-violet light damage your skin. All incisions will be extremely sensitive to UV light.  Do not tan for at least 2 months. Always use an SPF 30 or higher if scars are exposed.

Call the office immediately if you have:

● Fever above 101 degrees
● Redness or increased pain at the surgical site
● Severe pain uncontrolled by pain medications
● Rash, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after taking your medications
● Foul-smelling or cloudy drainage from the wounds
● Sudden onset of chest pain, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
● IF VERY SHORT OF BREATH or SEVERE CHEST PAIN, call 911 or have someone drive you immediately to the Emergency Department at your local hospital.