The face and neck are not the only places where the aging process can take its toll. The same skin laxity that causes wrinkles and sagging skin in these areas can also affect the appearance of the upper arms. The loose, hanging skin that plagues the upper arms, often referred to as bat wings, is not something that can be addressed with diet and exercise. While the problem is typically caused by the natural aging process, it can also be due to massive weight loss after bariatric surgery. No matter what the reason for your flabby upper arms might be, we can help you create a more aesthetically pleasing contour with a surgical procedure known as brachioplasty or an upper arm lift.
What is brachioplasty?
A brachioplasty, or arm lift, is a surgical procedure that reshapes and contours the under-side of the upper arm. Brachioplasty reduces excess sagging skin from the underarm to the elbow, while tightening and smoothing out the tissue along the upper arm, reducing localized fat deposits.
Who is a good candidate for an upper arm lift?
During your consult, we will perform a thorough examination of the subject area to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure, taking into account, overall health and expectations.
Skin tends to sag more as age, and weight fluctuations come into play through the years. The best candidates for this procedure are men and women who:
- Have a significant amount of upper arm laxity.
- Currently have a relatively stable weight range, not significantly overweight.
- Have loose, saggy or hanging skin along the upper arms; as a result of age, past weight fluctuations.
- Have tried and failed to reduce the presence of upper arm hanging through diet and exercise.
While you hold up your arms, you can easily assess the amount of excess fatty tissue that adds weight and puts stress on the skin, causing it to droop. If there is a significant amount of fat in the area exacerbating the sagging appearance, liposuction can be combined with the arm lift to produce the best possible results.
There are a series of techniques we employ in order to complete your arm lift, depending on the level of correction needed as well as patient’s desires.
- Standard Upper Arm Lift
We will make an incision along the length of the arm from the underarm to the elbow to remove fatty tissue and skin. This technique is for patients that have a significant amount of skin and tissue to remove. Liposuction may be added during surgery to eliminate localized fatty deposits and improve your result overall.
Limited Excision Upper Arm Lift
This technique is reserved for patients that need minimal correction. We create incisions in the armpit, in order to remove a small amount of fat along the arm. Any excess skin present will be trimmed and tightened, and the incision is closed. This technique produces the least amount of post-operative scarring and requires the shortest recovery period.
Extended Upper Arm Lift
This technique is recommended for patients that have undergone massive weight loss and require contouring to help the skin conform to a new, more slender profile. We cut along the full length of the upper arm, removing an extensive amount of loose skin and fat along the way.
He will then close and tighten the remaining skin, enhancing the contour and definition of the arm. An extended arm lift is the most invasive option, but it also produces the most dramatic results and works particularly well for post-bariatric surgery patients.
The recovery process can take some time, due to the length of the incisions that are made. A compression garment will be provided to reduce any swelling post-op, and your arm(s) must be kept as elevated as possible. Oral pain medication will also be prescribed for any post-op discomfort.
Within two to three weeks you will be able to resume your daily activities, however, you should take it easy, avoid any heavy lifting or exercise for at least an additional 2-3 weeks.
Once the swelling is gone completely, (can take up to 6 months in extreme cases) your results will be visible. Keeping a healthy lifestyle, as well as a healthy weight, can keep you results lasting for permanently. You can enjoy your new, sleek, contoured arms for many years to come!