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Brachioplasty

If your arms have become saggy and the condition is affecting your life and self-esteem, brachioplasty can be an effective way to get rid of the condition. More popularly known as the arm lift, brachioplasty is a popular plastic surgery procedure used by tens of thousands of patients in the US every year to contour their arms. Brachioplasty is a major surgery that involves surgical trimming of excess, saggy skin from the arms, apart from removal of excess fat deposits that do not go away with diet and exercise. After the surgery, your arms will look firmer, toned, and youthful. These aesthetic improvements will enhance your overall body definition.

Brachioplasty is an excellent choice for people who have undergone considerable weight loss, whether through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. The arms also become saggy due to aging and genetic factors. The arm lift surgery is an effective way to contour your arms no matter what has caused the sagginess. There are two types of brachioplasty procedures: upper arm lift and mini arm lift. Your surgeon will decide which of these is best for you.

Consultation for brachioplasty

If your arms are saggy and hanging, you may consider the arm lift. In order to know whether you are fit for the surgery, you must consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. The surgeon will examine your arms and assess your overall health, apart from checking your health and knowing your medical history and aesthetic goals.

There are many patients who withhold important health information from the surgeon. Doing so will lead to life-threatening risks during and after the operation. Make sure to share your complete health and medication information with the surgeon during the consultation. If you are a smoker, bring this information to the knowledge of the surgeon as well.

After getting all the information from you and knowing your expectations, the doctor will tell you whether you are a good candidate for brachioplasty. Depending on your aesthetic goals, the surgeon may recommend additional plastic surgery procedures in combination with brachioplasty. For example, you may require thigh lift in association with the arm lift to achieve the desired results.

Candidacy for brachioplasty

If your arms have become loose and saggy, you may be a good candidate for brachioplasty. However, your skin laxity needs to be good. Moreover, your weight must be stable. The ideal candidate will have no serious health issues. Health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory problems may complicate the surgery and the recovery process. As such, people who have medical conditions require extra care and precautionary measures during and after the operation. If you are a smoker, you may be required to stop smoking a few weeks or days before the surgery.

Your aesthetic goals and expectations are also critical in determining your candidacy for the surgery. You should keep in mind that brachioplasty will enhance your arms alone, which means you cannot expect it to fix each and every aesthetic flaw in your body. Be sure to have realistic, reasonable, and achievable aesthetic goals for the surgery.

How is brachioplasty performed?

Brachioplasty is performed under general anesthesia. There are two types of brachioplasty procedures. Each procedure requires different incision techniques and resolves slightly different problems. If you are undergoing the upper arm lift, the incision will be placed in the armpit and through the lower side of the arm all through the elbow. On the other hand, the mini arm lift incision is placed in the armpit. Let’s discuss both procedures in detail.

Upper arm lift

The upper arm lift involves removal of the saggy skin from the upper portion of the arm. Most patients get excess, saggy skin on the upper arm as a result of drastic weight loss or due to the damage of skin elasticity that mostly comes from aging. The plastic surgeon will place the incision on your arm. The size and site of the incision will depend on the amount of skin that needs removal, in addition to where the saggy skin is concentrated. The incision shape and type may change depending on the specific aesthetic flaws in your arm. If you want minimum scarring, the surgeon may recommend a Z-shaped incision.

After placing the incision, the plastic surgeon will carefully remove the excess, saggy skin from the arm. The surgeon needs to be extremely careful because even a minor error can trigger major aesthetic complications. After removing the skin, the surgeon will re-drape the remaining skin. The incision will then be sutured and closed. The same process will be repeated on the other arm.

Mini arm lift

The mini arm lift is an effective treatment for patients who require minimal tightening of the skin on the upper arm. The surgical process for the mini arm lift is the same as that of the upper arm lift. After administering the anesthesia, the plastic surgeon will place the incision on the arm. Next, the surgeon will surgically remove the excess skin and fat from the arm to create a youthful look.

So, what’s the difference between the standard upper arm lift and the mini arm lift? Well, it all comes down to the size of the incision. The mini arm lift involves a smaller incision than the upper arm lift. The mini arm lift incision is mostly placed in the armpit, so the resulting scar is perfectly camouflaged.

A mini brachioplasty is recommended for you if you have mild or moderately saggy skin as a result of weight loss from exercise, diet, or aging. If the procedure fails to deliver the desired outcomes, you may consider the standard upper arm brachioplasty.

Recovery after brachioplasty

Brachioplasty is a major operation. After the surgery, you will be required to take sufficient rest and go through a complete recovery process. You may experience some pain and discomfort for the first 24 hours following the operation. Your arms will be swollen and sore for several weeks after the procedure. The doctor may prescribe some medications for you to overcome the pain and discomfort.

In order to decrease the post-operative swelling, you should be sure to rest and sleep with your arms placed high. Also, make sure to change the bandage and keep the incisions clean. The primary recovery period can extend from 5-10 days, depending on your overall health and speed of recovery.

Typically, patients are advised to take at least one week off work for the recovery. Physical activities must be avoided for at least two weeks after the procedure. You can resume work 7-10 days after the surgery; however, if your work involves physically demanding activities, you should take more time off work.

Remember, the recovery is a major part of achieving the desired outcomes. If you are careless during the recovery period, it will not only affect the final results but also create health issues. There are a number of risks associated with the surgery, and you must follow the surgeon’s instructions to avoid these risks.

The common risks associated with brachioplasty include infection, excessive bleeding, seroma, poor wound healing, skin necrosis, abnormal scarring, hematoma, and loss of skin sensation. These risks are greater for patients who are careless during recovery and those who have health issues like diabetes or a weak immune system.

Expected results

Brachioplasty has a good history of delivering impressive aesthetic outcomes. Some of the results of the intervention will be noticeable right after the procedure; however, complete results will show only after the post-operative swelling has fully disappeared and the incisions have healed. This may take several weeks and even months.

As time passes after the surgery, you will notice your arms are looking youthful, toned, smoother, firmer, and slimmer. The results of brachioplasty are permanent as long as you maintain a stable weight. There is no doubt that aging will have effects on your arms again; however, your arms will still appear relatively youthful even in your old age.

The surgery will leave a scar on your arm, which is completely unavoidable. The plastic surgeon will do his best to place the scar strategically so it is less visible. The good news is that the scar will gradually fade and become less visible over time. You should undergo the surgery only if you think the scarring is a justifiable tradeoff for the aesthetic improvements.

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