When significant weight loss occurs, the skin on the upper arms can become loose and saggy and cause the dreaded “bat wings” that keep on waving after you’ve said goodbye. An Arm Lift, or Brachioplasty, removes excess arm skin and fat, giving you slimmer, firmer arms and the confidence to wear sleeveless shirts and dresses again.
Brachioplasty surgery is carried out under General Anaesthesia. The procedure usually takes around 2hrs to perform.
An incision is made between the elbow and armpit, the length of the incision depends on the severity of the condition. The excess skin is excised along with any unwanted fat to create a more shapely and aesthetically pleasing appearance, the area is then sutured. In some cases the patient may require Liposuction in addition to achieve the best result. Surgical drains may be used to drain any excess fluid. Surgical dressings are applied and compression garments are placed on the area which will need to be worn for several weeks following surgery to retain the shape and reduce swelling.
Some patients may be able to get satisfactory results with a mini-arm lift or minimal scar technique, which requires a smaller incision and removes less skin. An alternative surgery is also the BodyTite Liposuction.
Common side effects can include bruising, swelling and numbness which will usually subside as the area begins to heal.
There are more uncommon complications associated with Arm Reduction surgery such as infection, hematoma, delayed healing, skin necrosis/loss and thick scarring. General anaesthesia carries its own risks for example, cardiac/respiratory issues and DVT.
Once the healing process is complete it is important to maintain a healthy weight through a stable diet and exercise plan to maintain the result.
After surgery, you will have dressings wrapped around the upper arms to protect the incisions and Dr. med. Strouthou may write a prescription to help control any pain or discomfort you experience during your recovery. Despite some initial swelling, most patients return to work and other daily activities within a week or so after an arm lift. The appearance of the scars will continue to improve over time, but are typically not noticeable since they’re located discreetly on the inside of the arm, where they’re hidden by the body.
Who is a candidate for a Brachioplasty?
Ideal candidates for Arm Lift surgery are healthy patients who have a considerable amount of excess skin on their upper arms, typically as a result of significant weight loss.
How much skin is removed during an Arm Lift surgery?
The amount of skin removed is determined by how much excess skin exists. Generally a large ellipse of skin is taken out from the armpit to the elbow. Pinching together the loose skin and marking the excess determines the width of the ellipse. Removing too much skin can put too much tension on the incision and may result in separating of the skin edges. In many cases, such as many of the massive weight loss patients, there is so much loose skin that the excision extends past the elbow to the forearm and through the axilla down the side of the chest. This is known as an “L” Brachioplasty.
Are drains used with an Arm Lift?
One drain is typically used on each side and is usually removed in 2-3 days. In larger cases, sometimes two drains are placed. Drains remove excess blood and fluid from under the skin flaps to reduce swelling and speed up the recovery. They also help to prevent seroma formation.