After losing weight, many women hide their upper arms and are unwilling to wear sleeveless or short-sleeved shirts. You may feel that your upper arms are too big or that the skin hangs or is too loose. Fortunately, there are several effective techniques used to reduce the size of the upper arms and to get rid of excess skin. The technical name for the arm reduction procedure is called a brachioplasty.
Brachioplasty is often used in conjunction with liposuction to create a more attractive upper arm. For those people considered proper candidates after evaluation, these surgical techniques can be used to contour the arms, giving them a more appealing look. The best candidates are patients that have excessively loose skin in the upper arm or a combination of loose skin and extra fatty tissue making the upper arm seem disproportionate to the rest of the body.
Techniques for Arm Lift and Arm ReductionWhen women have excess fatty tissue on the part of the upper arm, which hangs when the arm is raised, liposuction alone can sometimes be done if the skin is not loose. The excess fat is removed through several tiny incisions in the armpit and near the elbow. The process of removing the excess fat actually encourages the skin to shrink to a significant extent and to conform to the new arm contour. Sometimes a combination of liposuction and arm reduction is performed.
Arm reduction surgery can be performed at any age, provided the patient is in reasonably good health. Anyone who is planning on losing a significant amount of weight may want to postpone surgery until after they reach their weight goal, since weight loss can affect your result. Those who smoke need to quit at least four to six weeks prior to surgery. The best candidates are those who are mature enough to understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results.
There are several types of arm reduction procedures. During your consultation we will determine which type of reduction is best suited for you. Sometimes a mini-arm reduction can be performed. This is done by making a small incision in the armpit region that may extend a short distance onto the inside of the upper arm. Though, most patients after significant weight loss require a full upper arm reduction. This involves an incision in the armpit and an incision that extends along the inner arm from the armpit to the elbow. This type of arm reduction allows for maximum skin tightening.
Recovering from Arm Lift SurgeryTemporary changes in the sensation of the arm skin are normal after surgery, but in some cases it can be permanent. We will discuss with you what you can expect as far as skin shrinkage and pigmentation changes. This will depend on your skin tone and quality as well as your preoperative proportions.
The human body is normally asymmetrical. It is not possible to create perfect symmetry in the arms through surgery. We will review what are reasonable expectations as far as symmetry. Swelling after surgery is normal. Most of the swelling should subside in the first couple of weeks after surgery. Infection and bleeding are very uncommon with brachioplasty. Antibiotics are administered during your procedure and a course of antibiotics will be prescribed for your recovery.
Some bruising is normal after surgery. This usually goes away in the first few weeks. For the first week after surgery you will have tape over the incisions. You will also wear a compression garment for several weeks to control swelling and to help your skin shrink and heal to fit your new contour.
Minimizing scars following Arm Reduction surgeryYour incisions will be noticeable immediately following surgery but they will gradually fade and flatten for up to a year after surgery. You will also have puckering around the armpit incision after surgery. This will smooth out over a month or two. If your skin has lots of stretch marks or is extremely thin, this is a sign of poor skin elasticity.
Patients with poor skin elasticity may be more prone to widening of the scar after surgery. Sometimes patients elect to do a scar revision procedure 8 -12 months after initial healing to improve the appearance of the scars. Your skin will also be firm and numb at the outset. It will soften and normal sensation will return gradually.
Achieving the best possible results
In your initial consultation, we will evaluate your health, determine where your fat deposits lie, and carefully assess your skin tone. We will fashion a treatment plan best suites your needs. The goal is to decrease the size of the upper arms in order to create better proportions with the rest of the figure. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit for a minimum of 4-6 weeks before surgery to minimize the risk of complications. Smokers are much more prone to delayed healing and wound breakdown.
Be frank in discussing your expectations with us. We will be equally frank in describing the procedure in detail and explaining its risks and limitations. The recovery is generally one to two weeks. You will need to limit your arm movement during the first couple of weeks. It is normal for the arm to feel tight and swollen. The swelling can actually take up to three months to completely subside.
The procedure is performed in our AAAHC outpatient surgery center and you may go home after surgery. We will see you the next day to review after care instructions and ensure that healing is proceeding normally. Don't hesitate to ask us any questions you have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
Patients are encouraged to light exercise after 7-14 days. Activities such as walking, exercise bikes and treadmills are acceptable. More vigorous activities such as jogging, aerobics or upper body weights can be resumed approximately four to six weeks after treatment.