Age, the effects of gravity, or significant weight loss can create loose, baggy underarm skin. Many women feel self-conscious about their flabby arms and cover them up in long sleeves, even in hot weather. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, can tighten up the upper arms through the surgical removal of loose skin and excess fat deposits. In some cases, We may also recommend liposuction, in conjunction with an arm lift, to remove excess fat in the upper arms, creating a more youthful, contoured arm. In fact, liposuction alone may be a better choice when there is a lot of fat, but the skin is tight.
This outpatient surgical procedure does leave scars, although we make every effort to place the incision in the least noticeable part of the underarm. If you are unwilling to accept visible scars, you are not a good candidate for this procedure.
In / Outpatient, Anesthesia, Length of Procedure
Dr. Chariker typically performs an arm lift procedure in our outpatient surgical center. You usually will receive local anesthesia and a sedative to make you drowsy and relaxed. The surgery takes one to two hours.
During and After
Dr. Chariker makes an incision from the armpit to the elbow along the inside of the arm. He removes excess tissue, tightens the skin around the arm and trims the extra skin from incisions before closing with stitches. If indicated, he may also perform liposuction to remove excess fat from the upper arm before closing the incision. Because the resulting underarm scar will be visible, usually only women with significantly sagging arms will want to undergo this procedure; those with a small amount of looseness will probably not want the scars.
The dressing around the arms may be extensive and patients will need to protect the incisions after surgery. They will feel some discomfort for a few days, which can be managed by pain medication the doctor will prescribe. Dr. Chariker will remove the dressings within a week; stitches will be absorbed naturally. Swelling should subside within two weeks. Most patients can return to work in one to two weeks.
Side Effects and Risks
Common side effects include temporary pain and swelling. In all cases, scarring will be permanent. If you are not willing to accept scars you should not have this procedure, as no surgeon can predict how the scars will heal on you.
Most patients are back to work in one to two weeks, but should not lift heavy objects for six weeks following this surgery.
Duration of Results
The final result of your brachioplasty will be seen only after the scars have matured, which will take about six months. Results should be long-lasting, particularly if you exercise, maintain muscle tone, and manage your weight.