All patients should expect some post-operative swelling. The scars are relatively long and run from the elbow, along the inner aspect of the upper arm and onto the trunk. Patients can bleed in the first day after surgery and require a second operation to stop this bleeding. This is a rare event, bleeding would be suggested by unexpected pain, tightness of the wounds, and oozing into the wound dressings.
Common complications include the build up of fluid below the skin in the weeks after surgery. This can require drainage in clinic as an out-patient using a syringe
The risk of systemic complications, such as thrombosis or pulmonary embolism is minimized by the use of thrombo-embolic stockings, compression of the patients calves in theatre, injection of low-molecular weight heparin after surgery, warming in theatre and in recovery, and early mobilization of the patient after surgery (getting out of bed as soon as fit enough to do so with the support of the nurses).
Any patient who experience calf pain, or shortness of breath in the first-weeks after surgery, needs rapid assessment (usually best carried out by the emergency department of a local hospital) to exclude the possibility of a deep venous thrombosis (a clot in the calf veins) or a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot obstructing a lung blood vessel).