The skin on the inside of the arms is very thin and stretchy, so a great deal of loose skin can develop there are massive weight loss. Women find the loose skin very annoying, as it is exposed in almost all summer clothing, and can’t easily be hidden by shapewear.
An arm lift improves the contour of your arms by removing loose, excess skin at the dependent portion of your arm. Doctors refer to the area between your shoulder and elbow as the “arm”. In a vertical brachioplasty a wedge of skin and fat is removed from the entire length of the arm. This results in dramatic tightening of the skin in this area, but also leaves a long scar.
A horizontal brachioplasty is a simpler alternative for people with loose skin confined to the upper part of their arm. It is generally inadequate for people who have had a massive weight loss. In this operation, a transverse wedge of skin and fat is removed from the armpit area. The scar heals within the natural armpit crease line.
To simulate the result of your arm lift, you can grab the skin of your arm with your other hand. Arms are cylinders of skin and fat wrapped around a layer of muscles attached to the humerus bone. A cylinder that is reduced in only one of its dimensions as is done in an arm lift, will not shrink uniformly. The greatest skin tightening effect will be seen at the inner aspect of the arm. The least effect will be seen at the outer aspect of the arm. For this reason, people with arms that still carry a lot of fat will have tight, but large arms after the surgery.
An alternative to arm lift surgery is liposuction. Liposuction will remove excess fat from the arms but it will not remove or tighten loose skin.
Dr Sanki can guide you about the style of operation required depending on your concerns and the findings of your examination.
Brachioplasty surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. The duration of the surgery depends on the amount of skin and fat to be removed, and can vary between 2 to 4 hours. During the surgery, liposuction is used to remove fat from the skin to be removed. The skin is then pealed away from the underlying muscles, leaving the important nerves that give movement and sensation to the forearm and hand undamaged. The fascia and skin of the arm is then closed with 3 layers of dissolving stitches. Surgical drains to take away excess fluid are usually used to help reduce swelling and collect any excess fluid sitting under the wounds. They are soft silicone tubes that lie under the skin and emerge from the armpit skin. They are usually removed on the first day after surgery. The goals of recovery in hospital are to streamline the patient’s pain relief and assist them in moving.
Recovery from brachioplasty surgery
A garment helps to support the arm wounds by reducing their swelling and limiting their movement. Most people get good comfort from their garment for 3-6 weeks after their surgery. It is possible to go back to desk jobs two weeks after the surgery.
A vertical arm lift results in a fairly prominent, pink scar at the inner or posterior aspect of the arm. In the months to years following surgery, the collagen in these scars is remodelled and degraded, making them softer, flatter and paler.