Brachioplasty day 10- allergies and arm pantyhose

on 6/27/12 5:30 pm
VSG on 01/04/10 with
 Well, I'm on day 10 of my brachioplasty recovery. It has been mostly smooth sailing. My energy is good and I am putting on regular shirts (have to bend over at the waist to get them over my head so that my arms don't go straight overhead, but doable). I had one little bump in the road a few days ago when I started itching uncontrollably all along the incisions. I thought it was just nerves regenerating or something, so I took benadryl and went to sleep. Then the next morning I felt a 'wet' sensation. Turns out I was having an allergic reaction to the steri-strips covering the incisions, and I had formed blisters under the tape, which were rupturing. I had to carefully peel all of the tape off, lance the rest of the blisters, clean them with antibiotic soap, and dress them with nonstick pads and gauze. So now I'm keeping it all moist by applying bacitracin twice a day (along the whole incision) and keeping covered with gauze underneath the compression garments. I went back on the pain pills for about a day but things are looking and feeling better now. I am grateful that none of the blisters formed directly on the incision, they are all next to it. So hopefully they will not result in poor scarring. 

I had developed a blister on my TT incision from a lone piece of tape holding on the gauze over my belly button, and looking back I realize that was also probably an allergic reaction. A while ago I had to switch from the birth control patch to the pill because the patch was giving me a ra**** didn't occur to me that I was allergic to MOST or ALL medical adhesives. I have always used bandaids without a problem. I realize that those are only on for a few days at most, and I react after about 7 days. Guess now I know! 

I was unhappy with the ace bandages my PS sent me home with to use for compression, they are impossible to get on correctly by myself, and provide uneven compression. I was about to order an expensive set of compression sleeves but then vaguely remembered reading somewhere that a patient had cut the toes off of her compression stockings and used those on her arms. 

I still had the compression 'pantyhose' that my PS sent me home in (I wore them during surgery) so I thought, I'll give it a try. They were a size medium and reached from toe to knee. I ended up cutting off the smaller, tighter end (which goes on the foot) and using about 13" of the bigger portion. IT IS A PERFECT FIT!! And it's cheap (free). I am thrilled. Way more comfortable than the ace bandages, more even pressure, less bulky. 

The only trick is, you can't pull them on like sleeves, they're too tight and will pull on the incision. You have to bunch them up, pull the bundle up to the elbow, and then carefully unroll it up the arm without tugging on the incision. 

So future arm-lifters, take note! You can use compression pantyhose/stockings for your arms instead of shelling out $60+ for an arm garment. It's worth a try! My PS also said that keeping the incision moist with bacitracin at all times (presuming it's not covered with steri-strips or tape) will greatly improve scar healing (he doesn't recommend neosporin because some people develop sensitivities to it after prolonged use). So I'm coating it with bacitracin twice a day. 

Follow-up is on tuesday, I'm kind of excited, I think he'll clear me to go back to walking for exercise. I'm a bleeder and tend to bruise extensively post-op (which happened this time in my left arm but not the right) so I am on restriction from activity that raises my heartrate. It gets pretty boring sitting on your (ever increasingly) fat bum all day watching reality shows about penitentiaries!! 
"The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." -Bertrand Russell
5'9 HW: 297 GW: 160 CW: 161
on 6/27/12 7:10 pm - Israel
WOW the journey continues!
hang in there as you heal.
Mikimi in Israel
on 6/28/12 9:16 am
VSG on 09/13/11 with
Glad you're doing better.  Allergies like that can be a pain.  I'm also definitely going to remember about the compression socks.  I am so jealous - my arms are a mess, but I still have a few months until the brachioplasty.
on 6/28/12 10:16 am - Mashpee, MA
 Compression pantyhose, very clever!  You've been sharing great info.  Thanks!
 First goal reached at one year.    
 "What is, is. What will be, is what you make it."  Unknown

on 7/1/12 8:45 am - Cloverdale, CA
I am so sorry to hear about your allergic reaction to Steri-strips.  I get the very same chemical burn/blistering from them.  Though I did have long-term redness for many months in the area of the allergic reaction, I'm happy to say that in the end I didn't end up with worse scarring. Hopefully the same will be true for  you. 
Start weight: 306   Surgery weight: 282   Current weight 199.5

on 7/1/12 11:51 am - Orange County :), TN
I am sorry you had an allergic reaction to the steri-strips but I am glad everything else is progressing along. YaY on the cheap compression.

06/07/12 - Dr. Sauceda LBL, BL/BA, Arm Lift, Fat Transfer and Neck Lift

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