Dr. Katzen's Post-Op Arm Lift Recovery Instructions and Recommendations
So, you are preparing for an arm lift or you have had the arm lift and wanted to know about the recovery.
FOR THE FIRST WEEK
Dr. Katzen suggests:
1) Keep your elbows straight. Keeping elbows straight will minimize swelling and pain.
2) Keep your hands above your heart. Maintaining your hands above your heart will decrease swelling and pain.
3) Keep your arms held slightly higher than 90 degrees in front of you (like Superman) or somewhat higher than 90 degrees out by the sides (like a bird).
4) Keep these arm positions during the day as well as at night.
5) To achieve these arm positions, you will need pillows. Depending on the pillow, you may need three or four pillows on each side. Please bring these pillows to the surgery center. You will need the pillows to elevate yourself in the car while you travel home after your arm lift surgery.
FOR THE SECOND WEEK
As your arm swelling decreases, you will be able to increase your arm movements. With each day, you will have more and more range of motion. During the second week, you should be able to tolerate having your arms by your side for at least one to two hours. You can go on walks with your arms by your sides, however, if you do have swelling, you are encouraged to keep your arms elevated. You should continue to elevate your arms while you sleep.
FOR THE THIRD AND FOURTH WEEK
As your arm swelling decreases and your arms continues to heal, you should be able to keep your arms at your side for an unlimited period. You may have occasional swelling which may require elevation for one to two hours. Unless you have continued swelling, you do not need to keep your arms elevated while you sleep.
FOR THE FOURTH WEEK
You should be able to resume physical activity. You should be able to run without restrictions. You should be ready to start lifting objects weighing approximately 20 pounds. As time passes, you should be able to return to all your previous arm activities.
Due to the incapacity of your arms, you will need someone to help you for the first five to seven days. For several days, you will need someone to help you to brush your teeth, eat, drink, brush your hair, wash your face, and take care of you in the bathroom.
You will have ACE bandages from your hands to your armpits. Unless specifically instructed by Dr. Katzen, do not change these dressings. These arm dressings are extremely important to minimize swelling and protect the arm incision from opening.