Making Peace with My Arm Lift (brachioplasty) Complication
This sharepost is part of a series about total body contouring plastic surgery that My Bariatric Life underwent following massive weight loss.
Online reviews paint a rosy picture, but the reality is plastic and cosmetic surgeries are not without risks. Everyone thinks ‘complications won’t happen to me,’ but they can and do happen. Those with a history of obesity have a higher risk of developing complications.
Never did it cross my mind that I’d have a serious complication. I had chosen my plastic surgeon wisely: looked at his experience and credentials, asked him the hard questions, viewed his before and after photos, and talked to his patients. He is, in fact, the leading plastic surgeon in the nation for body contouring after massive weight loss-having done some 10,000 procedures. However serious complications, although rare, can happen even under ideal circumstances.
The irony is that I had written so many articles about plastic surgery after weight loss, mentored patients throughout their surgeries, and openly shared my experiences both good and bad on patient community sites precisely because I wanted to protect patients from harm. And in the end I am the one who is left with what may turn out to be permanent damage to my arm.
Photos show the range of motion My Baraitric Life gained after physical therapy following complications from a brachioplasty (arm lift).
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." --Kahlil Gibran
I’ve walked through fire and rainbows during my plastic surgery journey. And I am more than weary of the drama. I've now had enough of dwelling in sorrow over this year-long complication. I had to accept that I’d suffered a serious and perhaps permanent complication. The universe is in control so why fight against it? It took a lot of self-reflection to get me to this place; to be open to life and love even when I want to slam shut the door of my heart. I did my best to focus on all the things that went right instead of what went wrong, and I found gratitude.
Ultimately, I will have to have my injury fixed, if it can be fixed. Or I will have to live with the limitations I have now. I see myself having surgery next year, and I am confident things will work out. The universe always conspires to give us what we need. All of this is leading somewhere and I just have to remain calm as it unfolds.
My Bariatric Life conquered a very challenging ropes course and her fear of heights!
I’ve lived a lot of life this year. And so much of that was made possible by my plastic surgery. I achieved a level of health and fitness that I have not had since I was a teenager. I have newfound zest for life, and have explored new places and done things never before possible. I lost my fear and inhibition and found happiness and strength and passion.
I no longer have a deformed body. That was something that ate at my soul in a way I cannot even describe. Now I have a desirable body. I love the way I look in clothes. I love the way I look without clothes.
"I recall when I weighed too much to ride a horse," My Bariatric Life.
Be Smart about Complications
I remain an advocate for plastic surgery after weight loss. I have spoken to countless patients who now love their bodies, some for the first time in their lives. Some patients have had no complications, most have had minor complications, and a very few have had serious complications. I do not regret my decision to undergo surgery. I do not regret my choice of plastic surgeon. My only regret is that there was a complication that may have been avoided if different choices had been made (as is true of most complictions).
My advice is to choose your plastic surgeon wisely; be clear with the surgeon on risks, how complications will be handled, and the revision policy. Be aware that there can be a lot of salesmanship that goes into “pitches” for your business, so be sure to get the important things in writing. And befriend several patients on community sites such as MyBariatricPal and RealSelf to get the inside scoop on the plastic surgeon (the things patients don’t say publicly online). After you have done all of that, have a plan in place for how you will handle a complication and tuck some money aside for that.
Lastly, go into surgery with the doctor you fully trust with all your questions answered. Understand complications can and do happen even under ideal circumstances, with a brilliant surgeon, and the most compliant patient — complications can even happen to you.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life