Brachioplasty is an effective operation to reduce the size of the upper arms by removing excess skin and fat and reshaping the arm for a more toned and proportionate appearance.
Some women find that as they age their upper arms get heavier. This is often due to hormonal changes around menopause, although for some this can occur earlier in life due to hereditary reasons. While exercise can improve muscle tone of your upper arm, it cannot reduce excess skin which has lost elasticity – particularly due to fluctuations in weight. This can create a ‘saggy’ look on the underside of arms which may be out of keeping with rest of your body.
Questions and answers
If you are in the process of losing weight, or intend to do so, it is a good idea to reach your target before contemplating an arm reduction. If you lose weight after surgery, your arms may become looser again and need to be retightened.
During your first consultation with your surgeon he will examine you carefully, take measurements, photographs, and assess the quality of your arm tissues. He will listen carefully to your concerns and expectations and only recommend a procedure if he thinks you will benefit from it.
In some cases, fat is first removed by liposuction then the skin is tightened towards the inside of the arm and towards the armpit. Sometimes little or no skin needs to be removed, ensuring minimal scaring, or a short scar high in the armpit.
For loose arms, a long ellipse of skin needs to be removed from the armpit to the inside of the elbow. The incisions are sewn up precisely with dissolving stitches to avoid stitch marks, and supported with tape. An elastic bandage is then applied. The scars from this can be significant.
The surgery can take one-and-a-half to two hours, and is often performed at the Institute’s day surgery facility.
Brachioplasty can be done under local anaesthetic, however, if you need circumferential liposuction as well as skin removal, it is more comfortable under a general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation.
After surgery you will be observed for an hour or two in the recovery room before being taken home by your support person. We can arrange an overnight stay at a nearby facility if you prefer. Although this is generally not a painful procedure, we will ensure you have adequate postoperative pain relief.
After surgery you will be advised to tape the scar for up to three months and to wear a supporting elastic sleeve for some of this time. We will review your progress as often as necessary for up to one year.
Returning to normal activity varies from one to three weeks, but strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least six weeks.
As with any cosmetic procedure, it takes time to see the final result. In the case of an arm reduction, it will be at least six months. You also should be aware that almost all body contouring procedures can be enhanced by a second procedure six months to a year later. This is because tightened skin always relaxes in the weeks after surgery and there is a limit as to how tightly your skin can be drawn during surgery and how much fat can be taken away without creating irregularities. The scarring from extended brachioplasty can take six months to fully mature, or longer in some cases.
More detailed information can be obtained during a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons. Please contact the Institute for a consultation.
Pre and post operative photographs of all procedures are available to view at the Institute during your consultations.
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