Immediately after surgery some patients will have
a feeling of tightness in the upper arm as the area swells due to the trauma of
surgery. Some patients may develop swelling and some tingling of the hands as
well. Most of these symptoms resolve with time.
Hematoma or excessive
bleeding occurring with a brachioplasty is rare, however; they can happen.
If a hematoma occurs, it needs medical attention immediately and may need to be
surgically drained. Excessive bleeding or a hematoma increases when the
patient tends to get physically active after the surgical procedure, or if
medication is taken that can contribute to thinning the blood pre and post
operative. The use of post operative drains help reduce the chance of a
hematoma from forming.
The risk of infections increases through the
proximity of the natural crease in the axillary area. Scars and incisions
are to be kept clean and the patient needs to make sure they take all of the
antibiotic prescriptions. If the infection gets bad, sometimes surgical
drainage can be necessary.
Seromas are fluid collections that can arise
after surgery along the incision line. Drains are used to help combat this
complication. Because of the location of the lymphatic system - seromas
and swelling is very common with this type of surgery. Wearing the
compression sleeve garment helps to prevent a seroma.
Phlebitis (inflammation of the
vein) may result from an intravenous (into the vein) or intramuscular (into the
muscle) injection. Phlebitis can result in painful swelling of the hand or arm
that may be prolonged. Treatment may require medication or even hospitalization.
Phlebitis can occur in the leg and thigh veins. This is extremely rare.
any cosmetic surgery procedure, the quality of healing is not known in advance.
Immediately after the surgery, an incision can inflame or weep requiring wound
healing treatments that can often be a long road. Keeping the wound clean
is paramount along with the patient stopping smoking.
Delayed wound healing may
increase the risk of
infection, extrusion, and
necrosis. Depending on the type of surgery or the incision, wound
healing times may vary. Smoking may interfere with the healing process.
Nicotine is the root cause of the decreased blood supply in that it
causes constriction of the capillaries and small blood vessels that feed
the skin with its required oxygen.
In any surgery that involves the
skin, there is always the risk of skin loss secondary to compromised blood
supply. Tissue death or skin loss is uncommon, but the chances of this are
increased after a seroma, hematoma, or infection. While rare, significant loss
of skin could require hospitalization and skin grafting.
The nerves that operate your
arms/hands are located near armpit area. While very rare, those nerves could be
damaged causing permanent disability and sensory changes to the affected arm or
hand. An important sensory
nerve ("medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve") runs down the inside of the upper
arm. It is important for the surgeon to avoid injuring this nerve, which might
cause a painful neuroma.
Surgery, especially longer
procedures may be associated with the formation of blood clots in the venous
system. Pulmonary complications may occur secondarily to both blood cloths
(pulmonary emboli), fat deposits (fat emboli) or partial collapse of the lungs
after general anesthesia. Pulmonary and fat emboli can be life threatening
or fatal in some circumstances.
Air travel, inactivity and other
conditions can increase the incidence of blood clots traveling to the lungs - which can be life threatening.
Make sure you discuss with your
surgeon any past history of blood clots, swollen legs or the use of high
estrogen birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy which can contribute
to this condition. Cardiac complications are a risk with any surgery and
anesthesia - even with a patient without symptoms.
If you experience of the
following symptoms contact medical attention immediately:
All surgery leaves scars, some more visible than
others. Although good wound healing after a surgical procedure is
expected, abnormal scars may occur within the skin and the deeper tissues.
Scars can become hypertrophic or possibly keloid, which can be unattractive. Scar appearance may also vary within the same scar, such as "bunching" due to
the amount of excess skin. Scars may be asymmetrical (appear different
between the right and the left side of the body). Also, there is the
possibility of visible marks in the skin from sutures. In some cases a
scar revision may be necessary.
With the brachioplasty procedure, patients are
made aware that they are trading one problem of loose and lax skin for the
possibility of visible scarring.
and swelling normally occur after the brachioplasty procedure. The skin in
or near the surgical site can appear either lighter or darker than surrounding
skin. Although uncommon, swelling (including the forearms and hands) and
skin discoloration may persist for long periods of time and in rare cases - may
Itching, tenderness or exaggerated responses to
hot or cold temperatures may occur after brachioplasty. Usually this will
resolve itself during the recovery period, but in rare situations may become a
Allergies to surgical tape, suture material and
glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents can occur. Serious systemic reactions including shock (anaphylaxis) may occur to drugs used
during the surgical procedure and or prescription medications. Severe
allergic reactions may require additional treatment.
Allergic reactions to suture material can be
common. Sutures that spontaneously poke through the skin, become visible
or produce irritation requires medical attention with the removal of the
dissolvable stitches. This is also known as "spitting
Fortunately most "bad
reactions" to anesthesia are not life-threatening. However, all forms of anesthesia including the different forms of local, can
carry a risk of an allergic reaction. Anesthesia exposes the body to
controlled levels of toxic chemicals in order to make sure there is no pain felt
during a surgical procedure. The main goal of anesthesia is to either stop
pain temporarily or to induce a semi-conscious or unconscious state. Even
though anesthesia carries a risk, the benefits outweigh any potential
The most important factor is making sure that
whoever administers the anesthesia are board certified in anesthesiology. By doing this, you reduce the risks of any complication that might arise during
surgery. All body functions and chemistry are monitored during your
surgery to ensure a safe procedure.
The most common reaction or danger of having
anesthesia is an allergic reaction to one of the medications used. This is
addressed immediately by the attending anesthesiologist by monitoring your vital
signs. If an allergic reaction occurs, your anesthesiologist is equipped
to handle this immediately. Severe allergic reactions during
anesthesia are fortunately rare.
It is very important to tell your
anesthesiologist every medication you take on a regular basis, so that he can
prevent any potential problem during surgery.