Brachioplasty (Arm Lift) The Woodlands
What is Brachioplasty or Arm Lift Surgery?
A brachioplasty is also known as an upper arm lift.
Who Benefits From Arm Lift Surgery
Clients with loose, hanging skin or fat in the upper arm may benefit from a brachioplasty. The clients can be those that have a normal body weight but excessive skin laxity in that area. Others that have undergone massive weight loss and now have excess skin or fat in the upper arm may also be good candidates for this surgery. In clients that have experienced a large amount of weight loss either from gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery, or from massive weight loss secondary to diet and exercise, this operation can be done as part of an overall upper body lift (along with back lift, gynecomastia surgery, and/or mastopexy). Weight loss patients should have a stable weight for at least a year prior to undergoing this surgery as future weight loss after the surgery could diminish cosmetic results.
Arm Lift Surgery
Smoking should be stopped two months prior to the operation. Even then, you will still be at an increased risk of complications from the surgery. A test may be done on the day of surgery to confirm that you have not been smoking. Any prescription or over-the-counter medication that can cause post-operative bleeding should be stopped at least two weeks prior to the operation if approved by the prescribing physician. In clients that have good skin elasticity, liposuction can be performed alone with good results. However, this is a minority of cases. Sometimes, liposuction will be used in conjunction with arm lift surgery to get the optimal result. There are three different types of brachioplasty. The first is a limited incision brachioplasty (also known as a mini brachioplasty). This is for clients with only a small amount of skin/fat excess just below the underarm area. The scar would be located in the underarm area. The second, and most common, is a standard brachioplasty. This procedure is best for clients that have loose, sagging skin from the underarm all the way down to the elbow. The scar, in this instance, is located on the inside of the arm, extending from the underarm to just above the elbow. The last type is the extended brachioplasty. The scar is similar to the standard brachioplasty but the incision (and scar) are carried onto the lateral chest wall to address loose, excess skin on the side of the chest/underarm. This is usually the type of brachioplasty performed in massive weight loss clients. In all types of brachioplasty, the incisions are made and the excess skin and fat is removed. If done alone, this operation is usually performed in an outpatient surgery center and the client goes home the same day. The operation usually takes from two to four hours.
Post-Operative Care From Arm Lift Surgery
Surgical drains will be left in place. The drains are used to remove any post-operative bleeding or fluid accumulation that can occur post-operatively. You will also have compression wraps around your arms. You should keep your arms elevated as much as possible to decrease the swelling. A prescription for narcotic pain medication will be given. You will be asked to start ambulating the night of surgery. The first follow-up appointment will be between five to seven days. The surgical drains may be removed at that time, depending on how much fluid is being drained from them. All of the sutures are buried and do not need to be removed. Clients can typically return to light duty/work in one to two weeks. You should be able to return to full activity and exercise in six weeks.
Arm Lift Surgery Potential Complications
Complications can include, but are not limited to, post-operative bleeding (hematoma), infection, wound healing problems, or the development of seromas (fluid collection) in the upper arm. You can also have changes in sensation in the upper arm area. Unfavorable results can include under-correcting the deformity and potentially needing revision surgeries. Widened scars can also occur. It is extremely important for the clients to understand the extent of the scar that they will have post-operatively. Most clients are willing to accept this scar in order to improve the contour of their arms, however. Jeffrey G. Lind II, MD and The Lind Institute of Plastic Surgery offer excellent service for brachioplasty clients in The Woodlands and Houston, Texas area.