One Year Post Brachioplasty

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Loose skin and skin removal surgery is something that comes up, so I wanted to share my progress. I kind of made a long post, because I’ve gotten some of the same questions over and over again from people.


Its been a year from the 1st surgery, and I just got a flash drive from my plastic surgeon full of pictures. I just want to preface this with the fact that I don't regret my surgery one bit -- even with all the crap that happened.

I thought about this for awhile before I did it. The 100# didn’t come off immediately, it took awhile, and then I was left with the loose skin. I did my research on doctors, and chose to go with someone in the middle of Missouri where I live. People always ask, so yes it was expensive, but I decided I’d rather live my life without the anxiety and extra skin, so I decided to have a brachioplasty since that’s where my loose skin issue was the worst.

As far as cost, I know this varies a lot by state. My doctor in the middle of Missouri ran me ~$6k. I had to pay three different people though. I had ~$900 for the anesthesiologist who wanted a cashiers check. The surgery center was $1700 and I could charge that or pay cash. And the rest was for the surgeon and I did Care Credit and got 12 months with no interest to pay that off. All of the revisions are free, since I already paid, so I did not have to pay for office visits or revisions -- until I was happy with the result.

I was mostly excited for the surgery more than anything, not really nervous. I had a minor complication on the day of – my drain came out and I just started gushing blood – so we basically drove home after recovery, was home for about an hour, and then realized I was bleeding like a maniac. I was still drugged up at the time, but I remember walking back into the surgery center and saying “I won’t stop bleeding, there is something wrong” really loudly in the waiting room (so I got rushed to the back ASAP).

The first week was bad, but not awful. The second week I was using my arms normally, just carefully. By the third week there wasn't really any problems and I was working out again (but not cardio – cardio HURT). After six weeks I started lifting small weights again. Unlike some of the surgery incisions, the arms are mostly vertical (minus the armpit), so they aren't under as much stress as a tummy tuck surgery incision which are horizontal and under more pressure/tension. This means they really don't hurt as much. Plus I had a lot of numbness from the nerves being cut. So for the first really painful week, I had enough numbness I didn't feel a lot of pain. The thing that's the most painful later is when the nerves start to grow back. That does hurt a bit, in short little zaps. It like little lightning bolts - as the nerves reconnect.

The scars ARE noticeable, if I have my arms out. They sort of run down the seam of a shirt, so unless I’m waving my arms around, no one really notices. They should lighten up a bit, and honestly who is going to be looking at my armpit?

When they took off the extra skin, they took off the layer of fat that was still attached to the skin, down to the muscle. So in total they took about 2# of skin and fat off my arms. When they did the revision it was small, just like 2oz of fat since it was mostly skin that time. I had a revision done to fix an armpit skin issue (it stuck out) and to make my left elbow thinner, to match my right elbow. Then I had issues... My right armpit incision slowly ripped open and took five months to close. That’s the short story. I had 3-4 wet to dry bandage changes (think letting a bandage stick reeeeally good to and open wound, and then rip it off) a day for a few months. Here’s a NSFL video of one:

It was incredibly painful. I ended up on gabapentin for awhile for pain since Percocet didn’t work, and I didn’t want to be on Percocet long term. I have photos in the album, but if you have questions about anything, feel free to ask.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    111 days ago
    I am new to this site - only joined a week ago. I lost 100 pounds over the past 7 years and was living in Mexico and decided to have a full brachioplasty done at a wonderful hospital there. Before someone thinks this is a bad idea, the hospital was more modern than the closest hospitals to me (Philadelphia, Harrisburg) and the plastic surgeon I had studied under the top plastic surgeon in the world.

    The entire cost was $3000 which included everything to all doctors, hospital and for medications. I went in in the morning and was discharged about 6 P.M. after they made sure I could eat a meal and keep it down. This was on a Friday. I was back to work on Monday as a teacher, but could not raise my arms to write on the blackboard above shoulder height for about a week.

    I also have scars, but the procedure was so worth everything. I did have some pain in the armpits from the tight bandages the first week, but after that the only pain was when the nerves were healing. It felt like a bad case of "pins and needles" when your foot is asleep. My body was a medium but I still was buying XXL tops to get my arms into the sleeves because of all the skin. The first time I put on a blouse that actually fit me was amazing.

    I would definitely have it done again. I have 70 more pounds to loose and if needed, WILL do it again.

    1640 days ago
    Thanks for posting the pictures. I'm so glad everything has finally healed and that you are pleased with the result. You look great!
    1697 days ago
    You look awesome. Thank you for always being willing to share the pics and the truth! I'm sure it helps a lot of people considering surgery! I'm not to that point yet, but I appreciate it too.
    1700 days ago
    What's NSFL? Lunch?

    To say your arm has come a long way is selling that ordeal short, that's some nasty stuff you went through. Glad you got to the end of the process without regret, that's the important part.

    You do realize, don't you, if any of us ever meet you IRL, we're totally going to be checking out your armpit?
    1701 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    congratulations on your year up! It sure sounds like it was worth it.
    1702 days ago
    I can't believe it's been a year! i'm glad it finally healed up! I don't know how you lived with the skin ripping ew!!
    1702 days ago
    Wow, you definitely had complications, especially when the incision started growing! How weird was that? I'm glad the surgeon continued to make corrections until you were happy because the "armpit nipple" was kind of ridiculous.

    I'm so glad you are happy with the surgery. You are such a beautiful young woman, and you definitely had "old lady arms" in the pre-op pictures. Now your arms fit your age and shape. WELL DONE!
    1702 days ago
    I cannot believe it has been a year since your surgery! I an certainly glad you are happy with everything.
    1702 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!!! I've really been contemplating getting this done. I'm down 117lbs right now but want to lose about 143 total (bringing me down to 150lbs). I get super nervous and scared when I think about getting skin removal but my arms are really bad and they bother me ALOT. So i'd agree that it'd be worth it.
    1702 days ago
    Wow! that's amazing!

    What a story! The photos totally add to your blog, though through most of it, I was cringing!

    IDK if I could ever do it because I fear surgical pain, but I'm glad you are happy with the results. Money well spent I'd say!
    1702 days ago
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