Are My Armlift Incisions Healing Normally?

Q: Dr. Eppley, three weeks ago I underwent surgery for brachioplasty on my arms. As the tape was coming off the incision looked great. There was no redness, it was perfect. As more of the tape started falling of I noticed that on the surface of a section of my incision, an opening, or blister, was forming. I was told to gently remove the rest of the tape down my arms. Now instead of seeing my original clean incision, I have a few blisters with a bit of pus along the incision line, and it is now read and bleeding slightly in some areas. Is this normal? I stopped wearing my compression shirt as were my doctors orders, but he said if it were to start swelling again to put it back on so I did. Does all of this sound normal?

A: There is a natural evolution of incisional healing that understandably confuses most patients as it relates to body contouring surgery. All incisions look fantastic the first 10 days or so after surgery because the wounds have not started to really heal yet and the normal inflammatory process has not set in. Then the incision line begins to look worse…gets red and inflamed in some areas and make even have a few sutures that work their way through the skin. This process will continue for up to about 8 weeks after surgery when the incision line is finally healed and the inflammatory process has subsided. What you are observing is perfectly normal and armlifts are one body area where this process can often be more exaggerated due to the thinness of the arm skin.

Dr. Barry Eppley