For projecting an image of all-over beauty, it’s often the little things that make a big difference. A common problem for women is excess fat or loss of muscle tone in the upper arms. It’s a problem that makes some women feel self-conscious about wearing short-sleeved or sleeveless fashions.
Cosmetic surgery techniques that slim the contours of the upper arm and eliminate excess skin are collectively called brachioplasty. These procedures typically address the following conditions: upper arms that are heavy or fatty, upper arms with flabby tissue and/or loose skin, and arms that are proportionally large for the patient’s body size. With modern surgical techniques, the arms can be restored to slim, attractive, youthful contours without obvious scars or a lengthy healing period.
Depending upon the needs of the individual, there are several methods that can be used. If excess fat tissue is the primary problem, liposuction alone can provide a good result. The excess fat is removed through tiny incisions in the underarm and elbow areas, and the skin shrinks to fit the new, slimmer contours.
If a patient has both excess fat and loose skin, a combined approach is called for. First liposuction is used remove the excess fatty tissue. Then an incision is made in the armpit, and the loose skin is pulled up and tucked into the incision. Unlike traditional arm lift surgery, these modern procedures involve virtually no incisions—or scars—on the arm itself, leaving patients free to wear sleeveless clothing after the surgery. Reductions in arm size (when measured at the largest part of the upper arm) typically range from two to five inches.
An important consideration for arm lift patients is the appearance of the arms in proportion to the entire body. During your consultation, the surgeon will view your arms in relation to the rest of your figure. If other nearby areas (such as the upper back) are fatty as well, this must be taken into consideration. To ensure a harmonious result, your doctor may recommend additional body contouring. Another important factor is skin elasticity, which the surgeon will evaluate to determine the most appropriate procedure(s) for you.
Arm lift surgery can be performed on people of any age, as long as they are in reasonably good health. Patients who are planning to lose a significant amount of weight should do so before having this type of surgery, as substantial weight loss will affect the result. As with other types of surgery, arm lift patients should refrain from smoking for at least four weeks before and four weeks after the procedure.
Arm liposuction and arm lift surgery typically take two to three hours. For the first couple of days after the procedure, patients feel sore and swollen, and they must keep their arms elevated on pillows to minimize the downward flow of fluids that would cause swelling in the hands and fingers. Drainage tubes and compression wraps are removed within a few days, and patients are instructed to wear supportive garments in the treated areas. For several weeks after surgery, arm motion must be limited to allow full healing of the incisions. Swelling and bruising are normal after arm surgery; both conditions typically subside within a few weeks and should be gone completely within two to three months.
If you or someone you know is considering a lift procedure, please contact a well qualified cosmetic surgeon beforehand.