Arm Lift – Brachioplasty

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Arm Lift

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Introduction – Arm Lift, Brachioplasty

Arm lift or brachioplasty is an operation chosen by women or men who are dissatisfied with the shape and size of their arms. This is usually done in the upper arms. Basically the surgery involves removal of fat and excess skin hanging from the upper arm.

Those who have doughy or flabby arms or those who have lost a lot of weight that makes their arms look misshapen and lax may opt for this operation. Sagging skin and fat deposition on flabby arms are commonly seen with aging and this many middle aged people may opt for this operation. Obese and overweight individuals commonly seek this operation.

Surgical Procedure – Arm Lift

This is an operative procedure that may require hospital admission and stay. The operation may also be performed on day care basis. The surgery may be done under general anesthesia that renders the patient unconscious or under local or regional anesthesia that renders the operated arm numb and desensitized to the pain.

In case of regional anesthesia the anesthesiologist may inject a numbing drug around the neck or shoulder thus desensitizing the nerves of the arm. The patient may be given soothing or relaxing drugs to help sedate them during the operation.

During the operation incisions are made underneath the inner arm area, from elbow to armpit. This site is chosen since once healed the surgical scar is least visible here. The skin is then separated from underlying tissues and excessive fat deposits and extra skin is removed.

The recovery is usually over four to six weeks. However the scar may heal completely over a whole year.
The remaining skin is pulled to be stitched at the incision. This tightens the arm and shapes it. The whole process may last around two to four hours.

Once the surgery is over the incision is stitched up and a small tube is placed within the incision. This helps to drain the excess fluid and blood that may accumulate at the operation site. The site is then bandaged. It may be a week before the stitches are removed. Till then movement of the arm is restricted by placing it in a sling.

Post Surgical Considerations – Arm Lift Surgery

The recovery is usually over four to six weeks. However the scar may heal completely over a whole year. There may be pain, bleeding, bruising or risk of infections. Pain relievers are prescribed over the initial few days to reduce the pain. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent and treat infections.

Some swelling and numbness may also develop but these resolve by itself during healing. Scarring is common and since the scar is large it may take a while before it is completely healed. Heavy work and lifting weight is forbidden till healing is complete.

Results of brachioplasty or arm lift operation are usually satisfactory but to maintain the shapes of the arms a healthy diet and regular exercise is also important. Unrealistic demands and expectations from the surgery need to be curbed.

Most patients undergo an initial counseling wherein the surgeon describes the extent of results that can be expected from the surgery.

- Links of interest:

American Society of Plastic Surgeons website

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons website

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