An arm lift, which is also referred to medically as a brachioplasty is an elective cosmetic surgery that aims to slim the upper portion of the arms. Targeting the underside of the arms, a brachioplasty at Clinic 360 helps to remove loose skin and excess fat in order to define the shape of the arms.
An arm lift is intended for both men and women who are looking to achieve a more defined upper arm area. ‘Bat wings’ is a coined term that has been used to describe loose, sagging skin on the underside of the arms. The aging process and weight loss can contribute to loose skin, as the skin’s elastic properties have started to diminish and gravity takes a toll, thereby assisting in skin to start sagging. Unfortunately diet and exercise will not help tighten skin that has been stretched beyond return.
An arm lift in aimed to:
- remove hanging, loose, stretched skin
- reduce stretchmarks
- remove excess fat
- define the shape and size of the upper arms
At Clinic 360 arm lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia, meaning you will be put to sleep. On average the surgery lasts for about 2 hours. The area will be marked before your surgery begins so you will be able to see where the scars will remain. The size of the scar is dependent on the amount of skin to be removed. It can start from the underarms and end just before the elbow. During the surgery, the incision is made in order to remove the loose skin. Next fat is removed using liposuction. Other excess soft tissues will be removed before the incision is sutured up. You will be wrapped in bandages and then wrapped in a compression garment and will be sent to the recovery room to rest before you are able to go home.
Types of Arm Lifts
At Clinic 360 we do not just offer a one-size fits all type of brachioplasty, but rather a few types that are then tailored to suit your needs and your anatomy.
For patients that need only a small amount of skin and fat removed on the underside of the arms, would be suitable candidates to undergo a mini brachioplasty. This results in an incision that starts at the armpit and extends to only part way down the arm.
For patients looking to remove some of their stretchmarks, loose skin and fat, a full brachioplasty may be the best choice for them. A full brachioplasty involves incisions that reach from the armpit to the elbow.
Usually individuals whom have lost a large amount of weight and/or undergone bariatric surgery are the types of patients that are candidates for an extended brachioplasty, since they often need more corrective work. To achieve the best result, and to remove the most amount of skin possible, an incision is made from the side of the chest, that extends up to the armpit and down to the elbow. This ensures the shoulder, armpit and tricep areas are defined and tightened.
Brachioplasty vs. Liposuction
Brachioplasty differs from liposuction, in that not only is excess fat removed, but soft tissue and loose skin is excised as well. This results in an overall new size and shape of the arms; the circumference is smaller, and the amount of hanging skin has significantly been reduced.
Since liposuction only aims to remove fat, the incisions used are very minimal. An arm lift targets skin removal too, therefore larger incisions will be made in order to do so.
Scar Treatments Post Brachioplasty
The size of the scar post- brachioplasty will depend on your anatomy and also how much skin needed to be removed. Plastic surgeons are trained and taught how to make scars as flattering and concealed as possible, however in order to remove loose skin- you will be left with a scar. The scar is placed on the underside of the arm, verses on top, thereby minimizing visibility of it. There are steps you can take to help minimize the appearance of your scars:
- Stop Smoking: not smoking before and after surgery is required, not only for your health and safety during surgery, but in order for you to achieve proper wound healing after surgery. Smoking can make it very difficult for your skin and underlying tissues to adhere and close, making for a messy scar.
- Silicone: silicone products that come in a gel or sheet form come highly recommended with regards to reducing the redness and texture of newly formed surgical scars. Your surgeon will be able to advise you on when you can start applying them.
- Laser Treatments: There are various types of laser-based treatments that can help diminish the appearance of healed surgical scars. Usually a couple sessions are needed to see the best result.
Recovery & Results After Brachioplasty
You will notice a tighter contour to your upper arms immediately after surgery, however this will be accompanied by swelling, bruising & minimal bleeding from the incisions. The nurses and your plastic surgeon at Clinic 360 will teach you how to keep your incisions cleaned and dressed before you return to the clinic for your first follow up visit.
You will be able to return to work in 1-2 weeks and will be able to resume your full exercise regime in 6-8 weeks, based on your healing progress.
The final results will appear up to 6 months after surgery once all the swelling has finally subsided. However after each day passes you will notice that swelling and bruising start to disappear. Eating a healthy diet, that includes no smoking will help to facilitate a smoother recovery. Maintaining a stable weight will also help with the longevity of your brachioplasty results. While surgery will not stop the natural aging process from occurring, some firmness is expected to diminish over time, but the results from brachioplasty are considered permanent given a healthy lifestyle is maintained.
Risks & Complications with Brachioplasty
Every surgery and procedure carries risks, most in which can be avoided, however sometimes unpredictable complications can occur. Carefully following your pre and post instructions that are provided to you at Clinic 360 will help to reduce your risk. Complications that can occur from brachioplasty include:
- Poor wound healing, which can result in unsightly scarring
- Seroma- fluid accumulation, that may or may not require another procedure to drain the fluid (based on the size & location of the seroma). Wearing your compression garment helps to reduce this risk.
- Hematoma- excessive bleeding, in which another immediate surgery is needed to stop the site of bleeding
- Tissue Necrosis- this can include fat or skin tissue death, and is rare complication that can occur when the blood supply is compromised for too long
- Reduced skin sensation and/or permanent or temporary numbness
- Infection- there exists an increased risk to infection since the incision is located in or nearby the axilla area. Proper wound care, and hygiene can help reduce risk of infection.