Brachioplasty or “arm lift/reduction” is a surgical technique that aims to improve the appearance of the arm by removal of excess skin or adipose tissue. In common usage, it is often referred to as the ‘bat-wing’ or ‘bingo-wing’ deformity. The popularity of the procedure has grown especially in massive weight loss patients.
Who is suitable?
The procedure is suitable for both men and women. The ideal patient has excess of skin and fat that is hanging down below the arm when the arm is raised. This can interfere with wearing certain clothes and can become unsightly. It is not suitable for patients who have very general obesity and no excess skin. Brachioplasty is effective means of losing weight.
What areas can be treated?
The purpose of this surgery is to create a more aesthetic contour to the upper arm. Some incisions can be extended to include the excess tissue in the axilla or armpit.
What does the operation involve?
The procedure usually involves liposuction to contour the arm and surgical removal of the excess skin and fat. The operation is carried out under general anaesthesia. Patients are marked pre-operatively to ensure the resulting scar will lie inside the arm to make it less visible. If liposuction is to be carried out this is performed first followed by removal of excess skin. The scar is sutured with absorbable sutures. A padded dressing is placed on the scar, and all patients are put in elasticated compression garments. On occasion drains may have to be inserted to collect the excess fluid.
What happens after the operation?
Normally patients are discharged the same day. They are encouraged to mobilise after the operation, discomfort permitting. All patients wear a compression garment for 6 weeks after the operation to help minimise swelling and discomfort. Patients can expect to be off work and driving for 2-4 weeks, gentle sporting activity for 6 weeks and contact sports for 3 months. The benefits of brachioplasty should become evident fully by 3-6 months after the operation. The scars take anything up to 12-18 months to reach their final state and patients will be encouraged to start massaging the scars from 6 weeks post-operatively.
How long do the results last?
The benefits of body contouring procedures can last a life time. However, if the patient gains weight excessively for example, the shape of the arms can return to their pre-operative state. Therefore it is essential for patients to maintain their results by adopting a healthy diet and exercise.
What are the risks?
There is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests a strong link between increased weight, smoking and hormone therapy/diabetes on increasing complications, particularly wound healing, infection and blood clots (deep venous thromboembolism, DVT). Minor wound Infection and wound dehiscence are the most common complications, followed by bleeding and/or seroma formation and prominent or hypertrophic scars. Mr Baker will take the utmost care and attention to the surgery to minimize these risks.
Further information on Brachioplasty surgery:
Arm lift or brachioplasty by liposuction and skin removal
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