A brachioplasty is a procedure to reshape the back of the upper arm, right from the arm towards the elbow. It is also referred to as an arm lift. It helps get rid of excessive skin and tissue, giving the upper arm a smoother appearance.
When someone accumulates a lot of weight, their skin stretches out over time. Your skin might not have the flexibility to spring back into place if you lose a lot of weight. This can result in additional tissue folds on the skin.
Brachioplasty is thus a body sculpting procedure. This procedure is frequently performed following weight-loss surgery. The majority of individuals who have had weight-loss surgery are usually interested in body reshaping surgery.
Why Brachioplasty is done
The skin on the upper arms tends to change as you grow older, drooping and even loosening. Furthermore, a significant weight reduction might cause drooping on the undersides of the upper arms.
Exercising the upper arm can build and improve muscular tone, but it won't help with extra skin that has lost its flexibility. If the undersides of the upper arms are saggy, you may want to consider a brachioplasty. An arm raise may also help you feel better about yourself.
The brachioplasty procedure would be appropriate for healthy and nonsmokers who have isolated loose skin on the inner and rear of their arms. Prior to considering brachioplasty or any other body reshaping surgeries, individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight need to retain a steady weight for at least six months.
How to Prepare For Brachioplasty
A few weeks or months before undergoing surgery, you can make some efforts to ensure that your brachioplasty is as safe and successful as possible. If you are a smoker, quitting at least one to two months prior to the procedure can help you avoid difficulties.
Slow wound recovery, for example, is a typical smoking-associated problem that raises the risk of infection. Before you have surgery, work with your physician to devise a smoking cessation strategy.
The doctor will perform a preoperative assessment some weeks before the brachioplasty procedure. He or she will check your health state and evaluate your medical history to ensure that you are ready for the operation. For you, this will be a good moment to ask your provider anything you may want to know regarding the arm lift. You can also express any concerns you may have.
The medical provider will begin by looking for any underlying health issues that might make the procedure risky. The preoperative examination can thus include the following;
- An X-ray of the chest
- Laboratory tests
- An electrocardiogram
- A prescription of the drugs you should take before surgery
- Modifying your current drug and supplement dosage
Your doctor will use the results of the preoperative assessment to determine the safest surgical technique. Two weeks before surgery, you must cease using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
The Brachioplasty Procedure
During the scheduled day of the operation, the doctor will begin by identifying and marking the areas on the arm and create incisions. A brachioplasty can be done in a variety of ways.
The most typical ones include making incisions on the inner part or rear of the arms. An armpit cut or the one that runs from the top of the elbow towards the armpit are the common alternatives. Depending on your doctor's surgical procedure, you will receive either a local or general anesthetic.
After that, the doctor tightens or reshapes the upper arm tissue by following the marks created on the arm as a guide. The next step is pulling the skin back on the tissue and using stitches to close the surgical wound.
The doctor can also perform liposuction at the same time if there are any excess fat pockets that are preventing your arm from fully recovering.
The whole treatment normally takes three hours to complete. You will probably require someone who can drive you home after your surgical appointment. If need be, he or she should also stay with you overnight to ensure you do not develop any complications.
Risks of Brachioplasty
A brachioplasty procedure carries a number of risks and complications, including:
- Asymmetrical shape and appearance of the arms: It's possible that this could happen because of the changes that occur during the recovery process. Furthermore, while the physician makes the arms appear as symmetrical as feasible, absolute symmetry is not attainable.
- Issues with the stitches: Stitches that doctors use to hold the new shape of the arm in place may work their way up to the skin's surface. Hence removal is necessary. The damaged skin may become inflamed as a result of this. Also, you may require another surgery.
- Scarring: A brachioplasty incision scars are usually permanent, although they are mostly hidden in places where they're not noticeable. Incisions can occasionally result in elevated, red scars. To enhance the look of the scars, corticosteroid injections or other forms of treatment could be recommended.
- Skin sensations change: The shifting of the arm tissues during a brachioplasty can interfere with your superficial sensory nerves. As a result, you will probably experience some numbness for a while.
A brachioplasty, as with any other major operation, has the risk of infection, bleeding, and a severe anesthetic reaction. Not everyone is a good candidate for an arm lift. If you have any of the following conditions, your doctor may advise against a brachioplasty;
- Being significantly obese
- Having frequent weight changes
- Having a health condition that makes wound healing difficult
- You are a tobacco user
People who have a medical history of connective tissue illnesses like Elhers Danlos might not be suitable candidates for the surgery. This is because it requires significant incisions, and such patients have a record of poor tissue quality and healing issues.
Also, patients who are taking long-term oral steroids for health reasons are not excellent candidates for brachioplasty.
Recovery from Brachioplasty
You may have to put on a compression piece of clothing to manage swelling while recovering after surgery. The doctor can place a temporary draining tube into your arm to help drain any blood or fluid that accumulates following surgery.
In addition, the physician will provide you with postoperative advice to follow at home. These can include information on how to care for the wounds, the medications to use and directions, the alarming signs to watch out for, and schedule an appointment.
During brachioplasty recovery, it's also crucial to refrain from smoking. Smoking hinders the recovery process, increasing your chances of acquiring persistent scars or even infection. After two weeks, you will be able to return to work or school and even go back to doing certain activities. You should resume your normal exercise or activity level after six weeks.
After the initial healing phase, notify your doctor if you experience any pain or difficulty moving.
The most important factor to consider with this treatment is the severe scarring, which can be difficult to conceal. Although a short-scar brachioplasty is possible, it is only for patients with loose skin on the upper posterior arm towards the armpit. Short-sleeved clothing can cover this brachioplasty scar.
A brachioplasty can give the upper arms a much-toned look by eliminating the loose and saggy skin. The effects of the procedure are usually long-lasting. However, keep in mind that your skin will gradually lose some of the firmness as you get older, and sagging may occur. Therefore, maintaining a healthy and steady weight may enable you to retain the results.
Brachioplasty Average Cost
The average cost of brachioplasty, based on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is $4,257. This price might vary depending on your health state and the scope of the surgical procedure. You should as well budget for any complications that might arise, follow-up procedures, or additional surgeries that may be required.
Before and After Brachioplasty Procedure
You may need to do various things to improve your brachioplasty before and after experience in the days leading up to it. You can do this as part of the brachioplasty procedure; ensure that clean clothes are within easy reach and below your chest height. With this, you won't have to stretch out your arms too much.
Following any operation, there are a variety of things you can do. After arm lift surgery, the major thing you need to do include putting dressings, bandages, and a compression garment on the arm. This helps to reduce swelling and bruising in the area. Also, ensure that you keep the bandages and dressing dry at all times.
Brachioplasty is generally a cosmetic surgery procedure. It reduces excess skin, tightens and smoothes tissue, and eliminates excess fat to address drooping underarms. Your upper arms will appear more defined and toned as a result of this.
With the formation of drooping skin, both age and genetics play a role. After cutting off a lot of weight, you could end up with excess skin. There are a few things to consider before opting for a brachioplasty near you, regardless of the underlying cause of the sagging skin.