Arm lift surgery is the surgical excision of excess, sagging skin of the upper arms. Weight loss does wonders for our overall health, but it wrecks havoc on our skin elasticity. Besides weight loss, genetics or age also play a factor in whether or not we will develop the dreaded batwings.
Am I a good candidate?
Brachioplasty candidates are women or men who have excessive hanging, flabby folds of loose skin from their upper arms and who are willing to trade in their batwings for a scar that will extend from the inside of the elbow up to the arm pit. Additionally, if you are in good health, and have realistic expectations about the procedure, the recovery and the long term results, then you are a good candidate for Brachioplasty.
During an arm lift, a plastic surgeon excises the sagging skin and other tissue then sutures the remaining skin to create a tight and smooth contour for the arm. Depending on the severity of the case, most brachoiplasty patients have a scar that runs from the armpit to the elbow, along the underside of the arm. Some patients who need less skin removed may end up with a scar from the armpit to about halfway to the elbow. In extreme cases, someone with a great deal of hanging skin to be removed may end up with a scar that extends past the elbow.
After the surgery, patients leave our office wearing a protective sleeve-like wrapping. This is a post operative compression garment worn to ensure proper healing and to minimize swelling. The incisions will be bandaged to avoid any outside contact that may cause infection. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the patient’s skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect during the healing process.
The first post operative appointment will be three or four days after surgery. Suture removal happens about two to three weeks after the surgery. Significant healing should be seen after about two weeks after the surgery. The swelling of the incision area will take about three to six months before it fully fades out. Patients must avoid doing any strenuous activities for the first two weeks after the procedure so that the incision areas won’t be put under pressure. It is important to take the prescribed medications as instructed by your plastic surgeon to avoid any surgical complications. Most patients are able to return to work after two weeks of recovery from arm lift surgery. Finally, the scars of the incisions will fade almost completely in six months to two years after the procedure.
Is there anything that can lessen the appearance of the elbow to armpit scar?
At North Shore Aesthetics, we offer scar management via FDA approved scar gel along with laser treatments.
Smartlipo/Laser Skin Tightening
This is a minimally invasive, laser-assisted lipolysis procedure that targets upper arm jiggle by eliminating the fat deposits while tightening and firming the skin.
Am I a good candidate?
If you are in good health, are less than 25-30 pounds overweight, and cannot tone or tighten your upper arms despite diet and exercise, you are an ideal candidate for Smartlipo/Laser Skin Tightening. As with all procedures, you should have realistic expectations of the results and understand the procedure and recovery process.
Patients have the option of having this procedure under IV sedation or under a local anesthetic. If the patient ops to be awake for the procedure, upon arrival, patients take an oral sedative to relax during the hour-long procedure. Either under IV sedation or under local anesthetic, once the patient is in the operating room, the doctor will administer a lidocaine to numb the area. The arms are done one at a time with only one small incision just above each elbow. The Smartlipo laser fiber is inserted through a very small tube just under the skin and it delivers a blend of laser wavelengths that melt fat and tighten tissue. The varying levels of energy rupture the fat cell membranes, thus destroying those fat cells permanently. The liquefied fat is then gently suctioned out. The laser then works to further disrupt the underlying tissue so that new collagen will form from the coagulation of skin; thus the skin tightening element exclusive to Smartlipo Triplex technology. Finally, the plastic surgeon removes the cannula from that tiny incision at the elbow. The incision, about the size of a pen tip, is actually so small that no suture is needed after the procedure.
As with brachioplasty surgery, Smartlipo / Laser Skin Tightening patients leave our office wearing a protective sleeve-like wrapping. This is a post operative compression garment worn to ensure proper healing and to minimize swelling. The incisions will be bandaged to avoid any outside contact that may cause infection. Patients can expect to see some blood tinged oozing from the site for the first 24 hours after the procedure. There is minimal discomfort, yet we prescribe a pain medication along with an antibiotic as a precautionary measure to decrease the risk of infection. We encourage all of our surgery patients to take the Arnica Montana that we provide to help alleviate bruising and swelling. Patients return to our office within three or four days for their initial post op. At that appointment, the doctor will determine how often the patient will wear the compression garment and when the next post op appointment will be. It is best that the patient does not engage in any strenuous activity for the first week after surgery, yet he or she can return to normal daily activities right away.
Terms to Know
Collagen – the skin’s fibrous protein responsible for its structure and appearance
Cannula – a flexible tube that is inserted into a bodily cavity, duct, or vessel to drain fluid or administer a substance such as a medication.
Arnica Montana – a homeopathic remedy to reduce pain, swelling and discoloration from bruises. It also temporarily relieves muscle pain and stiffness due to minor injuries, overexertion and falls.