Everyone knows about the floppy skin that can develop on the underside of the upper arm. Sometimes playfully referred to as ‘Bat Wings’ or ‘Bingo Wings’, this excess tissue can jiggle unpleasantly when the arm is raised or moved. The large amount of loose skin may cause clothing to fit poorly. A person may also be embarrassed by their physical appearance and experience a significant loss of self-esteem and confidence.
More women than men are prone to the development of lax muscles and the loss of skin elasticity. Other factors that may cause lax arm tissue can be a dramatic weight loss, the normal aging process, and genetic disposition. Once the upper arm has begun to lose tone, no amount of diet and exercise will help. Only a surgical intervention can restore a youthful arm.
The upper arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure specifically designed to eliminate the soft, sagging, and unappealing excess tissue of the upper arm. Through the procedure, the upper arm can have a tight, contoured appearance once again. The results from this procedure can be long lasting, but patients need to commit to maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise. As the aging process continues though, some amount of tissue change is expected.
The best candidate for this procedure will be a man or woman in generally good health, frustrated by sagging tissues of the upper arm. Those patients who are nonsmokers, and have realistic surgical expectations, make the ideal candidate for an upper arm lift. A consultation will be setup with the surgeon before the brachioplasty is scheduled. This will provide a one-on-one time to discuss medial history and surgical goals. If surgery is decided upon, a unique surgical plan will be created to meet the patient’s individual needs.
The Brachioplasty Procedure:
The Brachioplasty is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. Taking between one and two hours, the surgery will be performed with IV sedation or general anesthesia.
To begin the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision in the inner portion of the upper arm, running laterally from the armpit to the elbow. Depending on the patient’s individual needs, the exact pattern and incision length will vary. Once the incision is made, excess skin and fatty tissue will be excised. If electing to have liposuction, to further sculpt and contour the arms, this will be the time it is performed. A small cannula will be inserted, the fatty deposits broken up and suctioned out. Once the upper arm has been appropriately reshaped, tissues will be smoothed out and sutured in place.
The Brachioplasty Recovery:
Patients should expect the recovery period from the surgery to take around a week. Some mild pain and soreness may be noticeable for the first few days. For a comfortable recovery, the surgeon will prescribe appropriate pain medications. Some swelling and bruising may occur on the upper arm; over the first five to seven days, this will resolve on its own. Generally, patients will feel well enough to return to work or school in two to three days. Strenuous activity should be postponed however, for four to six weeks.
The results from an upper arm lift will be immediately apparent. In about six months, once the swelling has time to fully resolve and the tissues completely heal, the full benefits from the surgery will be seen. Noticeable scarring from the armpit to the elbow will occur after an upper arm lift. Patients are often so pleased with the dramatic results from a brachioplasty that the scar is rarely becomes an issue.
The surgery is considered an extremely safe and efficient procedure. There is the rare occasion for complications, though, as an upper arm lift is an invasive procedure. Risks can include excessive scarring, bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, and permanent numbness in the arm. To minimize the chance for complications, patients are encouraged to use only a skilled, Board Certified cosmetic surgeon such as Dr. Kreithen.
Holcomb and Kreithen Plastic Surgery is widely considered the top cosmetic practice in the state of Florida. Dr. Kreithen is a leader in rejuvenating and restorative procedures of the body. To schedule a consultation appointment for the upper arm lift, or any other procedure we offer, call (866) 218-4810. We will be happy to answer your questions, as well as provide travel arrangements for those coming from out of town.
The best Sarasota arm lift candidates are men and women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by loose arm skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight through diet and exercise or through a gastric bypass procedure and are left with an excessive amount of loose skin and fat under their arms. The surgery is also helpful for individuals who desire better contouring of their underarm region.
Patients who intend to lose a lot of weight should postpone the surgery. Patients who have underwent a gastric bypass should wait at least six months after their weight has stabilized. Poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers, so smokers must quit at least one month prior to surgery and refrain from smoking at least one month after the surgery.
Is Liposuction an Option?
Liposuction will not help if your problem is loose skin. The only time liposuction in Sarasota is a good choice is when there is a lot of fat and the skin is tight. When the skin is loose, an arm lift is usually the best choice.
Incisions and Scars in Arm Lift:
Scars are the greatest drawback of this operation. They will extend from the armpit to the elbow, along the inside of the arm. This operation exchanges one cosmetic problem (loose skin) for another (scars). In general, those with very loose saggy skin are most likely to find this exchange worthwhile. Those with a small amount of looseness will probably not want the scars.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
Post-operative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics. You can minimize the risk of blood clots by moving around as soon after the surgery as possible.
There will be a scar on the underside your arm. There is a possibility of having delayed healing of this scar or even an open wound that may take several weeks to heal. The scar may be unattractive for several months. Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Additionally, there is a possibility of a post-operative blood clot or persistent fluid collection in the wound that may need intervention. Smokers must stop at least one month prior to and after the operation, as smoking may increase the risk of complications and delay healing.
You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following Dr. Kreithen’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.
Planning Your Surgery
During your initial consultation, Dr. Kreithen will inquire about your medical history, prior procedures, medications, allergies, and your motivations for seeking plastic surgery. It is very important that you be thorough when providing your medical history, as this information helps to prevent complications during your care. When asked about medications, be sure to include any vitamin or herbal preparations, as these can affect your blood pressure and clotting ability. Honesty regarding your use of tobacco and alcohol is also very important, as these may have a profound impact on your recovery period and your ability to heal following your procedure.
Dr. Kreithen will discuss the specifics of the procedure with you, as well as the benefits and risks in depth.
At the completion of your consultation, you will meet with our patient coordinator. You will be given an estimate of the cost of your procedure , and have the option to schedule your procedure if you so choose. You are also encouraged to bring your spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend to your consultation. Dr. Kreithen realizes the importance of your decision, and will be happy to meet with you a second time to discuss the surgery.
Where Your Surgery Will be Performed
A brachioplasty will most likely be performed at our new state-of-the-art Holcomb – Kreithen Plastic Surgery Medical Center operating room. The surgery itself usually takes two to three hours, but may take longer in some cases. The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, but if combined with other procedures, may require an overnight stay.
Types of Anesthesia
Anesthesia is an essential part of any surgical procedure and must be performed safely. General anesthesia is the deepest form of anesthesia. You are asleep, feel no pain, and will not remember the procedure.
Intravenous sedation, called “twilight sleep,” is a combination of local anesthetic administered at the surgical site by Dr. Kreithen and intravenous sedation administered by the anesthesiologist. You breathe for yourself, but you are in a deep sleep throughout the procedure. You should feel no pain, and you will not remember the procedure.
Brachioplasty surgery usually takes two to three hours to perform. After you are properly anesthetized, Dr. Kreithen will make the incisions necessary for removal of excess skin and fat.
After the incision has been made, Dr. Kreithen gently elevates the skin and fat off of the underlying muscles of the arm. Dr. Kreithen removes excess skin and fat and redrapes the skin over the underlying muscles. A drain may be placed beneath the incision. These slender, rubber tubes assist in draining any fluid that may accumulate beneath the incision and delay your healing.
The incisions are carefully closed to minimize your scar. Dr. Kreithen may use a technique in which all of the sutures are placed beneath the skin and are absorbed by your body. Not having to undergo suture removal has improved patient comfort and satisfaction.
A sterile dressing is applied to the incisions, and a compression garment is placed over your arms. This compression garment or binder helps support your arms during healing, decreases postoperative swelling, and helps decrease any bruising that may occur.
After Your Surgery
Brachioplasty surgery may be performed as an outpatient procedure, or you may choose to stay in the hospital overnight, especially if done in conjunction with other procedures. If you choose to go home, you will recover in the recovery room for approximately one hour prior to being released in the company of a friend or family member.
You will be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication. Most patients find that they are able to transition to Tylenol or Motrin after three or four days. It is not safe to drive a car within 24 hours of taking narcotic pain medication, as your reflexes and alertness may be altered.
Getting Back to Normal
You should plan to take it easy following your surgery. Walking after your surgery will reduce swelling, lower the chance of blood clots, and tone muscles. Vigorous exercise, however, should be avoided until you can do it comfortably, approximately four to six weeks after the surgery. You may lift up to 10 pounds in each hand during the initial 6 week period.
You should plan to wear the compression garment or ace wrap for at least three weeks following surgery. Dr. Kreithen will remove the drainage tubes within several days following surgery, if present.
Your New Look
You will notice an improvement in your arm contour immediately. However, your shape will continue to improve in the following weeks as the mild swelling subsides. You should be up and walking the day following surgery, although your arms will be sore for several days. You should able to resume your normal daily activities within several days following surgery.
Every year, numerous individuals looking for an experienced plastic surgeon in Sarasota come to Dr. Joshua Kreithen. His dedication and attentive patient care have allowed him to become acknowledged as a foremost Sarasota tummy tuck, liposuction, arm lift and thigh lift surgeon. Depending on the needs and desires of each patient, Dr. Kreithen might perform these procedures as stand-alone treatments or combine them into multi-stage treatment plans. He often recommends the latter approach for Sarasota body lift and other post-bariatric plastic surgery procedures patients. Please visit the respective pages to learn more about these procedures.