What Is Upper Arm Lift Surgery?
Whether as a result of age, heredity, pregnancy or weight fluctuation and even after embarking on a program of vigorous exercise, you may find that you still have unsightly loose, hanging underarm skin.
An Upper Arm Lift, also known as Brachioplasty, is performed to reshape the upper arm, tighten loose skin and remove fat that often creates the well known “bat wing” effect under the arm.
Removing the excess skin caused by weight loss or natural aging can tighten loose skin that extends from the underarm area to the elbow; Liposuction is also often performed in combination with a Brachioplasty to achieve the best results. Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed during your preoperative consultation and your options will be dictated by your skin quality and the extent of excess underarm fat and redundant skin:
Upper Arm Liposuction is an option for you if your skin has enough elasticity to shrink around the remaining tissues after your fat is removed. Liposuction may also be used as an adjunct for fat removal in a standard Brachioplasty procedure.
If your skin has poor elasticity, tissue sagging will be even more pronounced after fat is removed.
Limited Incision Brachioplasty:
If excess hanging skin is located close to the armpit, your surgeon may be able to pull up and tuck this excess skin into the armpit. This works best if you have loose thin skin in the lower inner arm area near the armpit and do not have too much excess fatty tissue.
If your excess skin extends like a bat wing from the armpit to the elbow, the only option is complete removal of the excess underarm fat and redundant skin , in a standard Brachioplasty.
An Extended Arm Lift is often a treatment option for patients who have had massive weight loss. Similar to a Standard Brachioplasty, the incision line of an Extended Arm Lift procedure is extended along the arm down to the body. This includes loose skin and fatty tissue from just under the arm area along the side of the chest wall.
General anesthesia is commonly used during this procedure. For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood. Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
Following his markings on your elbows, arms and armpits, your surgeon will make the necessary incisions to remove excess skin and fat. The incisions may be completely concealed within the armpits or extended down the inside of the arms in the most inconspicuous locations possible.
At this point, your surgeon may use liposuction as an adjunct to remove excess fat.
After the incisions have been made, your surgeon will remove the excess skin and fat and bring the incisions together to provide a firmer and smoother arm contour.
Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm and your surgeon will close the incisions carefully to minimize scarring.
A sterile dressing and a compression garment will be applied and drains may be placed.
This procedure normally takes 120-150 minutes
Am I a candidate for surgery?
For certain individuals exercise will never get rid of sagging skin. You are a candidate for an Upper Arm Lift if:
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Advantages of Surgery:
Disadvantages of Surgery:
Preparation for Surgery
Prior To Your Arrival
Before traveling to Cyprus, as part of your surgery preparation you will complete a detailed specific questionnaire and will submit a recent Chest X-Ray and photographic images of the problem areas which you wish to have treated.
Initial Consultation: Once the images have been received by us, we will schedule a consultation with your chosen surgeon, via Skype or telephone. This will allow you to ask any questions regarding the procedure and will also allow your chosen surgeon to assess your condition and determine your eligibility for your chosen procedure.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your chosen surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for surgery and clarify what surgery can do for you. Understanding your goals and medical condition, both alternative and additional treatment options may be considered. You should be prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
Your treatment plan
Depending on the quality of your skin, how much excess there is to remove, and your body shape, your surgeon will determine what options are open to you.
Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and the surgeon’s training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, at this point including:
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
Ten days prior to your arrival in Cyprus, you will receive all the necessary pre operative instructions, to prepare yourself both physically and mentally for your chosen cosmetic procedure.
Before your departure to come to Cyprus your records will be reviewed thoroughly by our surgeon. This includes Chest X-ray and a complete medical and surgical history.
Getting your house ready before your surgery
It is also important to get your house ready for after you come home from the hospital. At first it will be harder for you to move around, so arrange your furniture and household items ahead of time to make it easier for you during your rehabilitation.
Preparation for the hospital
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you pack and prepare for the hospital and recuperation:
Getting dressed in the morning helps you feel better, so be sure to bring some comfortable clothing to the hospital:
After traveling to Cyprus, a new set of blood tests, E.C.G and chest X-ray will be taken as well as an in person physical examination.
The surgeon and anesthetist will meet with you and go through your medical and surgical plan.
During this consultation, your surgeon will discuss your surgical procedure and answer any further questions. Your plastic surgeon will proceed to examine measure and photograph your face for your medical record.
Day before surgery
Your doctor or nurse will give you more instructions based on the type of prep.
You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before your surgery.
Morning of surgery
Bring all your medicines, if any in their original containers with you to the hospital.
You will meet with the anesthesiologist. This doctor will talk to you about general anesthesia. This is a controlled sleep while the surgery is being done so you will not feel any pain or remember the surgery. You will have an IV or intravenous line put in to give you fluid and medicine during your surgery.
Your plastic surgeon shall consult with you once again for the proposed procedure and will create markings on your elbows, arms and armpits. The location, length and direction of these incision lines will be dictated by the type of brachioplasty he will perform.
Recovery after surgery
When you wake up after your surgery, you will be in the recovery room, where you will continue to be closely monitored. You will stay there until you are awake and your pain is under control. Most patients return to their room after a couple of hours.
Immediately following an Upper Arm Lift procedure, you will feel very sore or tender. Any pain you feel can be controlled with pain medications.
Your incision site will be covered with a dressing to keep the area clean and protected. You will also be wearing a wide elastic compression garment to reduce swelling and provide support to the skin as it tightens. You will wear this garment for several weeks.
The first 48 hours after surgery, you will experience varying degrees of swelling and bruising. The swelling is maximal at 48 hours after surgery and mostly disappears within two to three weeks, but there may be slight residual swelling for up to four months. Bruising is normal and typically disappears within seven to ten days.
Hospital discharge and home instructions
Most Arm Lift patients require several days of bed rest, even if they return home the same day as their surgery.
On the first day after surgery, you may be instructed to stay in bed with the compression garment on and to periodically move your hands and feet to maintain good circulation. You will be able to get up and walk after the second postoperative day.
Your diet is slowly increased from ice chips to liquids to solid foods as your intestines start functioning.
Before leaving the hospital, our surgeon and staff will help you adjust to recovery in every way possible. You will receive specific instructions and precautions from your surgeon and nursing staff and they will show you safe techniques of simple activities like getting in and out of bed, bathing, going to the bathroom, managing steps at home and getting in and out of a car.
You will be able to leave the hospital when you are:
Most people are able to go home one day after their surgery; however recovery time after the procedure and the length of your hospital stay depend on your overall health and the type of procedure performed.
Life After Surgery
These guidelines give you an overview of what you may expect as part of your care after you leave the hospital. Be sure to follow your doctor’s discharge instructions if they are different from what is listed here. This will include information about wearing compression garments, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
It is fairly common to feel weak and tired immediately after discharge from the hospital. The body needs time to recover from the stress of surgery.
Your bowel habits
You may have different bowel habits after your surgery. Loose stools are common for the first week or two after surgery. If you have watery diarrhea, call your surgeon. This may be a sign of a bowel infection. Severe constipation should be avoided. See the section below on medicines for constipation.
There are generally no dietary restrictions following cosmetic surgery. Avoid foods that cause diarrhea or digestive discomfort. You will eventually be able to resume your regular diet. A dietary supplement or drink can be used.
Your medicines: Take the medicines you were taking before surgery, unless your surgeon has made a change.
Your surgeon will order a prescription pain medicine for you after surgery. As your pain lessens, over the counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used. They can also be used instead of your prescription for mild pain.
Prescription pain medicines can cause constipation. Your doctor may order a stool softener to prevent this. You should be back to your normal bowel routine in about 2 weeks. If the stool softener does not work, take Milk of Magnesia. If you still are not getting relief, call your surgeon.
Call your surgeon right away if you have:
The healing process is gradual and so you should expect to wait at least three months to get an accurate picture of the results of your surgery.
How Long Will the Results Last?
If you maintain a stable weight, healthy lifestyle, and fitness program, your results will be long-lasting. Naturally however, there will be some relaxation of the skin early after surgery and the skin and connective tissues will loosen and sag gradually with age.
However, if you gain and then lose a large amount of weight after an Arm Lift , the skin could stretch out again, negatively impacting the overall contour.
Follow-up after surgery is extremely important and our surgeons at Salus are committed to providing all the post surgical care you need. For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, whenever you notice any unexpected changes do not hesitate to contact your surgeon. In order to identify and treat any complications as they may arise, close, lifetime follow-up is essential.