The skin’s elasticity varies considerably on different parts of the body, which means that following weight loss patients can be left with excess skin in some areas. As you age, the skin becomes thin and loses its elasticity, while the muscles lose tone and stretch. This can also result in what is commonly referred to as 'bingo wings' or excess, loose skin on the upper arms. This can make people feel very self-conscious. Those who have achieved significant weight loss can develop saggy skin on the arms. They can then find that they keep wearing long sleeves in warm weather and are avoiding activities where the arms are exposed.
It is important to realise that after brachioplasty or arm lift surgery there will be a scar, though this scar usually fades over time leaving a discrete pale whitish line. The scar usually runs from the armpit to just above the elbow. The length of the scar depends on how much skin has to be removed. The aesthetic result of the scar depends mainly on individual factors. It is generally advisable to cover the scar with surgical tape for up to 6 months. It is also recommended that you listen to your body’s signals, as the healing process is individual. Initially the advice would be to avoid training and other physical activities other than walks. Always use high factor sun protection if you have to expose the scar to sun.
On the day of your procedure, you will arrive at the hospital fasting. Before the surgery you will meet with your surgeon again and he/she will mark the surgical site. A brachioplasty can be performed either under local anaesthetic or under a full general anaesthetic, depending on the extent of liposuction and skin removal that is needed. In some cases the procedure may also involve tightening the tissue and muscles under the skin with internal sutures.
Arm Lift or Liposuction?
As mentioned, the elasticity of the skin varies in different areas. For example, the skin on your calves and chin has good contracting properties, but the skin on the inside of your arm is less so. This means that the effectiveness of liposuction can also vary but for some younger women the result from liposuction can be as good as that achieved with a skin excision. Most patients seeking advice on this problem also have sagging, surplus skin. To achieve an improvement, an incision needs to be made to the inside of the arm and the surplus skin removed. This procedure is usually called an inner arm lift or brachioplasty.
Most of our patients who undergo a brachioplasty will require an overnight stay in hospital. They will be taken care of by professionals with extensive experience of this surgical procedure. You will usually need to wear an elastic support bandage from your hand up to your armpit. On discharge you will have been given an appointment for your first post-operative visit to the Aesthetic Institute, but patients are welcome to contact us before that if they have any concerns.
Many patients experience swelling in their lower arm and hand, although this usually disappears a couple of days after the operation. For the first few days after the operation, you will need to keep your arms raised as much as possible, for example lying in bed with your arms resting on cushions. Most patients can return to sedentary work after about a week and have their stitches removed after approximately 10 days. The main risk of brachioplasty is that the scar is more conspicuous than expected. That’s why looking after the scar after the operation is extremely important in order to achieve a good result.
What does it cost?
The overall cost of an arm lift depends on a number of factors including how extensive the surgery will be, and if the procedure is to be performed as part of a combination procedure.
You can read more about our prices for different procedures and treatments here.
If you have any questions about brachioplasty which were not addressed here, or if you would like to book a consultation with the consultant plastic surgeon to discuss treatment options for you, please call 01 491 5738, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our Enquiry Form.