There are various stages of the recovery from surgery and especially from a significant procedure such as an brachioplasty.
Immediately after the surgery is common to feel a little dizzy, discomfort and a bit disorientated in association with the medications from your anaesthetic and for managing pain.
The various stages include managing discomfort and the activities of daily living, managing more general household responsibilities, returning to activities including driving and exercise and finally the full maturation of the outcome and the scar. These aspects all occur at different speeds.
You will remain in hospital until you are able to manage your discomfort and perform all the necessary routine activities of daily living with the level of support that you will have available at home. This maybe as a day case or after one or two nights in hospital for most patients.
In the short term when you get home there will be no driving, no significant exertion and you will feel limited in activities requiring a a lot of reaching. In bed most patients require some extra pillows supporting your arms for comfort. After about one week most people mobilising without concern but performing tasks more slowly and deliberately than usual.
At about one week you are well in control. You can return to driving, you know what makes the pain it worse and therefore you avoid it. The medications are becoming far less necessary to remain comfortable. A relatively moderate discomfort during the day can be ignored when you are busy or thinking the other things but may become more noticeable when you are trying to clear your mind for sleep. Consequently many patients will still take a stronger pain tablet at night.
Patients with a sedentary job and need to be back at work will be able to go back to work if they are no longer requiring strong painkillers and especially if they are able to have shortened hours. Most patients will prefer to wait until two weeks if their circumstances permit. If the level of exertion at work can’t be controlled then six weeks off work will be required in uncommon circumstances.
By three weeks you are performing gentle exercise such as walking quietly without hand weights. You are in control of all aspects of your recovery and almost all patients are completely off painkillers.
At six weeks you are liberated! You can return to all activities even exertion at the gymnasium however it will take a while to build back up to normal speed. You will have both good days when you do a bit more and bad days when you feel the results of those activities.
At six weeks your scar will appear as a relatively fine pink line. From this point it will actually become pinker and reach its most obvious appearance between three and five months.
At about three months most patients feel that they are not reminded daily about the surgery. There will be further improvements particularly in areas of liposuction over the next 12 months but these won’t be occurring at a appreciable rate from day-to-day.
At 6 months the scar will be improving but the full improvement of the scar is slow and takes 18 to 24 months.