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Body: Arm Lift

(Brachioplasty: Inner Arm Lift)

The indications

Upper arm skin is not as elastic as other areas of the body. As we age, it is common to experience varying degrees of drooping (ptosis.) Particularly after massive weight loss, this extra sagging is exacerbated and causes what has been called a “bat wing” appearance from the elbow to the armpit, or axilla. Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure intended to remove excess skin and improve the contours of the upper arm and axilla areas.

Liposuction is only effective when the skin elasticity is good. A quick way to determine if you may need a Brachioplasty is to hold your arm straight out then bend your elbow to 90 degrees. If there is more tissue below the bone in the upper arm than there is above the bone, then liposuction will likely not be recommended.

Prospective patients that are not good candidates for an arm lift include those who have had a mastectomy or conditions involving excess sweat formation. It is not unusual for mastectomy patients to have swelling problems in their arms (lyphedema) and a surgery such as a Brachioplasty will likely exacerbate the problem.Diabetics and smokers must weigh the increased risk of complications.

The procedure

Brachioplasty is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure takes approximately 3 to 4 hours for both arms. Immediately before surgery, areas of excess skin will be marked with an elliptical shape to provide a surgical blueprint. An incision is made on the inner arm. The length of this incision will depend upon the soft tissue redundancy and could extend from the elbow to the armpit and even onto the lateral chest wall if necessary. Loose skin is removed and tissue is rearranged in the axillary areas in order to improve the contour. After the fat and skin is removed and contoured the incision is closed in layers using sutures in both the deep and superficial tissues. In certain instances, the incision may be limited to the axillary area only. This limited Brachioplasty is used only in those patients who have a mild to moderate soft tissue redundancy limited to the upper one third of the arm.

You can expect

Arm lifts are done on an outpatient basis. The patient is seen in the office the following day for a dressing change. Sutures are usually removed at 7 to 10 days and steristrips are then applied. At this time the patient will be placed in a compression garment which will be worn for the next six weeks. Swelling and bruising may be evident for the first 3 to 4 weeks and gradually subside over 6 months. Typically, the upper half and axillary incisions heal very well but they never fade completely. These scars may require topical treatment such as silicone gel sheeting or possibly injection of steroids to improve their appearance.

Scars will be red at first, and then fade over 6 to 12 months. The ultimate condition of the scars will take up to 24 months. The patient should be careful to protect the new scars from the sun for at least one year.

A word about financing

Brachioplasty can be made very affordable through our financing partners at CareCredit. Visit them at www.carecredit.com. Lupe or Ellies would be happy to answer any of your questions or assist you with the necessary paperwork.

Insurance notes

Brachioplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and is rarely covered by medical insurance.

 


 

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