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Brachioplasty is the medical term used for an arm liftprocedure. An arm lift helps reshape the loose skin on the under sideof the arm,starting up from the elbow to the underarm.* Usually, loose skin occurs if a person is overweight and has heavy upper arms. The skin on the upper arms can get permanently stretched, thus causing it to droop or sag. Liposuction can help reduce the amount of fat present in the upper arms, but cannot get rid of the loose skin. Brachioplasty is the only cosmetic procedure that addresses this problem.*
Who is a Right Candidate for Brachioplasty?
Men and women who have loose, flabby and sagging skin folds of the upper arms due to weight loss, and can accept marginal scarring as a trade off for achieving tighter, firmer, and shapely upper arms are considered as good candidates for the Brachioplasty procedure.However, patients need to be willing to trade those unsightly “Bat Wings” for marginal but permanent scarring that extends under the arm,from the elbow to the armpit.
Amongst the many people opting for this procedure, there is a growing population of adults that have lost a massive amount of weight and have sagging arms after a Gastric Bypass Bariatric surgery.There are also many women who develop flabby arms not due to massive weight loss, but as a result of ageing as well as loss of skin elasticity. These women haven’tbeen able to tighten or firmup their arms, irrespective of how much they have exercised,and are therefore considered ideal candidates for brachioplasty.*
PREPARATION FOR BRACHIOPLASTY SURGERY:
- In case you suffer from a medical condition like high blood pressure, it should be controlled prior to undergoingthis procedure.
- After thesurgery dateis scheduled, you would need to schedule an appointment for a physical examination and pre-admission testing.
- You will be given instruction on eating and drinking, smoking and using medications, vitamins and supplements.
- Smoking must be stopped 2to 3 months prior to the operation,as it hampers the supply of blood to the tissues.
- In fact, surgeons will even refuse to perform surgery on smokers due to the riskit involves.
- It is best if you could arrange for someone to help you out for a couple of days.
How It Works?
Brachioplasty Procedure: Brachioplasty is generally performed under general anesthesia. The procedure involves the removal of skin along the lower border of the arm.However, it will leave behind a thin scar on the inside of the arms.There are different levels of ptosis deformity. Brachioplastycan even get rid of excess tissue and also lessen the circumference of the upper arm. The surgical correction depends upon the amount of excess skin,and on how loose the supporting tissue hasbecome. The excess skin is removed through an incision along the inner arm. The incisionsshould be placed where the tissuescan be tightened. Most common incision used in the procedure extends from the elbow to the underarm (axilla), and this allows the excision to address the excess skin in the middle of the arm.It may be necessary to modify the incision in order to limit scarring. The surgical sculpture involves the superficial skinas well as the deeper attachments that have become loose. Sometimes, acombined excision can limit the length of scarring between the elbow and underarm. In case there is sagging skin of the lateral chest, then the incision can be extended in order to deal with the excess tissue there.Prior to the procedure, markings are made that help guide the removal of skin. The actual incision might curve or zigzag in order to reduce scar contraction. Liposuction can prove useful to contour the layer of fat. To remove fluids,athin rubber drain could be used following surgery.
Recovery after Surgery:
The surgeon would fit a compression garment on thearm in order to reduce swelling and maintain the shape of thenewly contoured upper arm.In case there is excess fluid, adrain might evenbe replaced. Patients can go home within a couple of hours, or might have to stay in the hospital overnight if the surgery is more extensive. Any discomfort or pain is managed with prescription medicines. The swelling lasts for 2to 3 days and then subsides completely over 2or 3 weeks.If any sutures and drain is used, it is removed within a week. Patients should be able to resume work and other routine activities within 1 week, given that they don’t do any lifting or strenuous activities using their arms,until it has been approved by the surgeon. The incisions are placedin a way that they are not very noticeable. The scars fade away in around sixmonths to a year,depending upon the extent of the treatment. The new “lifted” appearance of the contoured upper arms would be visible within the first week following surgery.A healthy diet as well as exercise routine helpsmaintain the new and contoured shape of theupper arms.
Advantages of Brachioplasty:
Reduction in excess upper arm fat Tightening of loose and saggy skin Improved self image/confidence Can wear short sleeve clothes without being self-conscious
Swelling of the hands Infection Seroma formation (collection of fluid that can arise after surgery)
What are the most common benefits of this procedure?
- Thinner contour to the arms and amore youthful appearance.
- Reduction in flab, excess skin and fat, particularly in the upper inner arms.
- An improved appearance in the related folds of fat and skin on the upper chest near the underarm, which are mostly visible when the arms are down.
- Effective and long-lasting results.
What happens during the initial consultation?
In the initial consultation, the doctor will discuss the changes you want in your appearance. The different options available will be explained to you. This will include the procedure itself, any limitations and risks,and also the kind of anesthesia that is administered. The doctor will start with a physical examination in order to evaluate a patients overall weight, skin and muscle tone, as well as fat deposits in thearms. He/Shewill also take a medical history, which includes any medication that you are presently taking. A record of your weight, diet as well as exerciseregime is also important. Make sure to confirm all the questions that you have in mind about the procedure. Knowing everything about the different options, its advantages and risks is the key to taking the right decision. Note: The arm lift procedure will not affect muscle tone. You would need to exercise in order to firm and tone the muscle under the skin,both before and after the procedure.
How is Brachioplasty performed?
The doctor begins the procedure by marking the area that has excess skin, with either the patient sitting or standing. When the marking is done, ananesthetic is administered. Following this, incisions are made on the under and inner surface of the arm, often in a zigzagged line. Theseincisions may run from the underarm to the elbow.This pattern of skin removal is generally followed bya triangular or elliptical shape. Some of the fat is often suctioned at the same time. While the excess fat and skin is removed, the remaining skin is sutured into place. Sometimes a drain is used in order to drain out the excess fluids from the incision site, thus allowing the skin to adhere to the tissuesbeneath. Following this, the incisions are bandaged.
How long does the procedure take?
Generally, abilateral arm lift takes around 2 hours. Patients can usually return home the same day,after being monitored for some time in the recovery room.
Where isthe procedure performed?
Most often, the surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure in a surgical suite. Is there any pain involved? In case the procedure is performed using a local anesthetic, which is supplemented by a mildsedative, there is minimalpain experienced. However,you might feel some movement, pressure or vibrating sensation. More sedation would further reduce the sensation and general anesthesia would eliminate all sensation. Patients might experience some discomfort following theprocedure. For this, the doctor will prescribe pain medication to make you feel comfortable.
What should I expect after the procedure?
After the surgery,you will feel a little groggy. Your arm would be placed in a special compression garment,in order to help the newly sculpted skin to adhere to the underlying tissues. You may have manylayers of stitches on the upper arm, probably with a drain inserted to allow the skin to adhere to the tissues underneath. Following a brief stay in the recovery room, patients are allowed to go home.
What will be the recovery period?
For the first week after surgery, patients will need to avoid any type of strenuous activities, including lifting and bending. You would be able to take a shower on the third day after the procedure. The swelling caused due to the surgery is mild to moderate, and peaks at 2to 3days. The drains areremoved after 2to 3 days. A little grogginess might persist for 5to 7 days. While every person’s recovery process is unique, the recovery time after an arm lift procedure usually lasts for a week or two. Youwill probably be able to resume work within a week’s time, and resume exercising within 2weeks. Strenuous sports or workouts can be resumed after around 4weeks.
What arethe long-term effects for most people?
- Improved proportion and balance in the contour of the arm.
- Improved confidence.
- Natural and presentable appearance within the first week,which gradually improves over the next 3to 6months.
Can an arm lift procedure be performed for any patient?
Usually, an arm lift procedure is not suitable for patients who have had mastectomy. The draining of fluids(lymph) from the arm might already be damaged, and further surgery could lead to constant swelling. People with repeated infections in the underarm, and people who suffer from excessive sweating(axillary hidradenitis)are also not considered as good candidates for this treatment. Liposuction might be a better option to reduce the thickness of the arms for some people.
What are the risks or complications that can occur?
The most common risksassociated with this surgery includes excessive bleeding, infection, wound healing problems, possible asymmetry or irregularities, visible scarring, and possible nerve damage along with changes in sensation. However, this does not include a reaction to the anesthetic used. The doctor will discuss all the possible risks with you during consultation.