Loss of skin elasticity in the upper arm is a problem that can be seen with increasing age or after significant weight loss.
The primary method to tighten the skin of the upper arm and remove excess fat is called a brachioplasty. The most common way this is done is by an incision that extends from the armpit to the elbow located on the inner arm or on the back of the arm. This technique allows for maximum skin and fat removal. Variants of this technique may use a less extensive incision where less skin and fat removal is necessary. Your cosmetic surgeon will review your situation and recommend the appropriate incision type for you.
Who is a Candidate?
- Men and women who are in good health
- Men and women who have moderate to severe skin laxity of the upper arms
- Patients after significant amount of weight loss from dieting and/or surgery such as lap band or Gastric Bypass
- Improved contour of the upper arm.
- Decreased size of the upper arm by removal of excess skin and fat
- Decreased skin laxity of the upper arm by tightening the skin envelop
- Arm reduction is usually performed in an accredited office facility, outpatient surgical facility or in the hospital.
- The surgery may be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with conscious sedation.
- Liposuction is performed on the arm if significant fat removal is required,
- An incision is usually made in the armpit extending to the elbow on the inner arm.
- Excess skin is removed and the incision is closed with sutures.
- Drain use is variable.
- The arms are usually wrapped with an elastic dressing.
Recuperation and Healing
- Recovery may be at home with a responsible adult, in a recovery facility or overnight in the hospital.
- A compression garment may be worn on the arms for approximately two weeks.
- Bruising and swelling are normal and may take several weeks to resolve.
- Stiffness of the arms, especially when bending is common and usually resolves within a few months.
- Areas of numbness of the upper and lower arm are normal and usually resolve within a few months.
- Sutures or staples are usually removed within two weeks.
- Drains, if used are usually removed in less than 7 days after the procedure.
- The incisions can be treated with scar creams and ointments.
- The scar will take 8 -12 months to look its best.
The use of microcannulas permits a relatively aggressive approach to liposuction of the arms, while minimizing the risks of aesthetically displeasing irregularities of the skin. Multiple small incisions give access to the entire circumference of the arm but always disappear quickly in light-skin patients. A thin layer of residual fat should remain to insure a natural female appearance and the natural softness and feel of a female body. Excessive liposuction can produce a masculine appearance of the arms which some may regard as a deformity.
Recuperation and Healing
- Postoperative Care after liposuction of the arms is relatively simple with only a moderate degree of compression necessary for only a few days.
- Drainage from the arms usually lasts less than 48 hours after surgery.
- Dressings consist of absorbent pads, initially held in place by tubular elastic netting, over which are wrapped elastic non-adhesive ace-type bandages. The patient can usually remove and re-apply these dressings without assistance. Postoperative improvement is rapid.
- Virtually every patient attains a significant degree of improvement within a few days after surgery.
- Excessive compression may cause swelling of the forearms and hands.