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Brachioplasty – arm reduction

brachioplastyBrachioplasty, or arm reduction is a surgical procedure designed to remove loose and sagging skin from the upper arm. This procedure is generally considered following massive weight loss achieved by diet alone, or following some form of weight reduction surgery such as a “lap band”.

Sometimes with age, upper arm skin can become loose and flabby, resulting in an inability to find clothes that fit or feeling so uncomfortable about the loose skin of the arms, that you end up always wearing long sleeves to cover up! Surgeons will discuss brachioplasty with patients who want to tighten this skin and look as good as they feel.

The best candidates for brachioplasty are men or women who are in relatively good shape but are bothered by a large fat deposit or loose upper arm skin that won’t respond to diet or exercise. The surgery is particularly helpful to patients who, through massive weight loss, have experienced loose excess skin and fat in the upper arm area that will not respond to exercise. This procedure is not suitable if you still intend to lose a lot of weight.

Brachioplasty can enhance your upper arm appearance and your self confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

Thousands of brachioplastys are performed successfully each year. When done by a qualified plastic surgeon that is trained in body contouring, the results are generally very pleasing. Nevertheless, there are always risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.

Postoperative complications such as infection and blood clots are rare, but can occur. Infection can be treated with drainage and antibiotics, but will possibly require a hospital stay.

Poor healing, which results in conspicuous scars, may necessitate a second operation. Smokers will be advised to stop completely for at least 3 weeks before and after surgery, as smoking increases markedly the risk of complications and delays healing.

You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following your surgeon’s instructions before and after the surgery, especially with regard to when and how you should resume physical activity.

surgeryIn your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your health, determine the extent of fat and skin in your upper arm, and carefully assess your skin tone. Be sure to tell him if you smoke, and if you’re taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs.

Be frank in discussing your expectations, your surgeon will be equally frank with you, describing your alternatives and the risks and limitations of each.

Your surgeon will work with you and your problematic areas to recommend the procedure that is right for you and will come closest to producing the desired body contour. If, for example you have excess fatty deposits in the upper arm area and your skin integrity and elasticity is good, then Liposuction may be the appropriate choice for the best possible results and with minimal scarring.

During the consultation, he will also explain the anaesthesia he will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved.

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.

If you smoke, plan to quit at least three weeks before and not to resume for at least three weeks after your surgery. Do not go on a stringent diet, as both can inhibit your ability to heal. If you develop a cold or infection of any kind, your surgery may need to be postponed. Notify your surgeon’s friendly staff.

You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a few days to a week after you leave the hospital.

Brachioplasty is normally performed in a hospital as a day procedure or with an overnight stay.

Your surgeon will recommend general anaesthesia, so you’ll sleep through the operation.

Brachioplasty usually takes two hours, depending on the extent of work required. Most commonly, a long incision is made from the axilla (armpit), to the elbow, running along the inside of the upper arm .Once the incision is made the skin is lifted from the arm. The underlying muscles are tightened and reshaped, to give your arm a new contour. Excess skin is trimmed, drains may be placed and the incision is sutured.

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. It must be worn at all times, day and night, for at least six weeks and then for as long as possible after this, particularly during exercise. This will help to ensure that the scars are as minimal as possible and will help to prevent wide spread scarring.

recoveryYou will not be able to drive yourself home after the surgery so be sure to arrange for someone to pick you up. When you go home you should limit your arm movements as much as possible for the first few weeks. When you are discharged you will be given a prescription for pain medication, which will minimize your discomfort.

Do not wet that area for at least 48 hours as this gives the wound site a chance to seal together without introducing bacteria that could be present in water. On the morning of day 3 you can remove the support garment and shower normally.

You will notice an improvement in your arm contour immediately. However, your shape will continue to improve in the following weeks as the swelling subsides. Initial healing usually occurs in 10-14 days.

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, and you should be able to resume all of your physical activities within three weeks of surgery. Please continue to wear the support garment at all times.

Scarring is inevitable with arm lift surgery. However, your scars will continue to fade over time and will become less and less noticeable.

Brachioplasty produces excellent results for patients with excessive upper arm fat and skin. And in most the results are long lasting, if you follow a balanced diet and exercise regularly. If you’re realistic in your expectations and prepared for the consequences of the permanent scar and a sometimes lengthy recovery period, Brachioplasty may be just the answer for you.

If you have further questions, write them down and ask your surgeon and his extremely attentive staff at your consultation.