Arm Lift/ Brachioplasty
“Bat wing” or “tuck shop lady” arms typically develop because of a large amount of weight loss or the soft tissue in the arm has become lax and the skin has lost its elasticity due to natural ageing and genetics. Often however, it is due to significant weight loss.
Unfortunately, this problem is usually the most difficult thing to cover up. Exercise may strengthen and improve the underlying muscle tone but no amount of exercise or strength training can get rid of the excess sagging skin.
Brachioplasty, or arm lift, is a procedure that removes this loose, excess skin from the upper arms allowing for a more defined, trim and toned upper arm.
Fortunately there are a number of brachioplasty/arm lift surgical options, including minimal scar techniques available.
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YOUR CONSULTATION WITH DR DONA
Your first visit to Dr Eddy Dona will allow you to discuss any issues you have in relation to your arms. Dr Dona will perform a physical examination to assess and advise you on your options taking into consideration your desires and expectations.
PREPARATION FOR SURGERY
Your complete medical history should be made aware to Dr Dona, fully disclosing all health problems. All relevant details should be disclosed when you fill out your “Patient Registration Form” and during your initial consultation.
Do not take any blood thinning medications such as; aspirin or any medicine containing aspirin, large amounts of vitamins or anti inflammatory drugs.
You should cease smoking for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery, as it increases surgical and anaesthetic risks and can lead to serious complications.
THE DIFFERENT SURGICAL PROCEDURES
A number of options are available to restore a more flattering contour to your arms. Dr Eddy Dona will advise which option will correct your particular problem.
Liposuction –May be sufficient enough for many people with mild to moderate excess arm tissue. This decision can only be made after a careful evaluation of your concerns.
Minimal Incision Arm Lift – Minimal incisions are made where the inner, upper arm joins the armpit. This is considered if there is only a small amount of extra skin located near the armpit.
Full Brachioplasty – Incisions will be made on the inside or back of your arm. The incision may extend from the underarm to just above the elbow. This can be performed in conjunction with liposuction.
The underlying deep tissue layer is tightened with stitches to smooth and define the shape of the upper arm. The excessive skin is then trimmed, tightened and sutured into place. The skin is then smoothed over the new contour of the arm. The arm lift tightens the entire arm, from the armpit to above the elbow.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING YOUR RECOVERY?
Most women are ready to go home a few hours after surgery. In some cases an overnight stay may be recommended. Before you leave, some discomfort and pain are normal.
Routine post-operative prophylactic antibiotics are provided and pain relief is generally required for the first few days.
You will be provided with a post-operative compression garment which you will need to wear for 4 – 6 weeks.
During the beginning of your recovery, you should get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat frequent, small, healthy meals.
Smoking should be avoided for at least 2 weeks after surgery. All surgery results in some swelling and bruising but should start to settle after a couple of weeks. The scar from the incision will be slightly red for a few months and then fade.
You will be advised by Dr Eddy Dona when you can return to normal activities and work. Most people can return to work 1 – 2 weeks after the procedure. However, heavy upper body activities and sports should be avoided for at least 4 weeks after surgery.
You must not drive until you are fully recovered from both the anaesthetic and the discomfort of the surgery so that you are fully capable.
WHEN CAN YOU EXPECT THE FINAL RESULTS?
While there will be some swelling and bruising, the results of your new trim and toned arm will be apparent almost immediately after your surgery. Because the arms are difficult to conceal, especially in the warmer months, brachioplasty is one operation that patients find the most satisfying.
Having a brachioplasty will not stop your upper arms from sagging if you gain and lose a large amount of weight in the future. It also will not stop the natural ageing process of skin which will lose its elasticity with time
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS?
As with any surgery, there are always possible risks and potential complications. These include wound infection, bleeding, chest infection, poor scarring, haematoma, blood clots, bruising and swelling.
Other potential complications include:
Asymmetry – Differences between the right and left arms or unevenness of the skin.
Swelling –May take several months to resolve.
Scars –May appear to be worse during the first six months of healing. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for brachioplasty scars to become quite thick and dark. Very occasionally, a scar revision surgery is required.
Loss of Sensation – Around the scars in the upper arm or even in the forearm. This typically subsides over several months.
Circulation – May be poor in some areas of the skin around the surgical area. This may lead to a loss of skin and a wound that needs to be dressed until healed.
Seromas – Fluid build up under the wound which may have to be drained by a needle
WILL PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COVER COSTS?
Brachioplasty is an elective surgery but in some cases, covered by Medicare and your health fund. Dr Eddy Dona will advise whether this applies to you.