Brachioplasty (aka Arm Lift) for “Bingo Arms”

Brachioplasty (or Arm Lift) removes loose skin and fat from the upper arm. It ranks high on the wish list for many plastic surgery patients who have lost large amounts of weight or who have heavy upper arms due to simple genetic factors. Loose skin hanging from the arms tends to make patients self-conscious, limits clothing options and can even cause people to avoid certain activities, like swimming or playing tennis. Good candidates for brachioplasty are often weight loss patients who shed many kilograms, resulting in excess skin and stray fat deposits. Furthermore, post-bariatric patients should be near their desired weight and well nourished. Men or women with loose upper arms due to heredity and ageing may also be interested in brachioplasty. It’s best not to smoke for proper wound healing.

Techniques

There are a variety of techniques to chose from, so choosing the best approach for each patient’s particular needs is the no. 1 priority of the plastic surgeon. Each patient is unique in terms of skin laxity and other factors. Patients may benefit from one or a combination of the following techniques:

  1. ELBOW TO ARMPIT: An incision from the fold of the elbow to the axilla, or armpit, yields dramatic improvement. This approach is frequently combined with liposuction to eliminate stubborn fat pockets and loose skin. Most brachioplasty candidates choose this method.
  2. LIPOSUCTION ONLY: Patients with some skin elasticity remaining may opt for liposuction only. An advantage to this approach is that scarring is minimal. The right candidate can expect significant improvement, but not as dramatic as when skin is removed as well.
  3. MINI-ARM LIFTS: A mini-arm lift is an option for patients with excess skin in the uppermost portion of the arm, and for those concerned about scarring. In this case, I make an incision in the armpit, sometimes extending a 6-8 cms down the arm.
  4. ARM AND ARMPIT LIFTS: Upper arm skin is thin and sags over time. Some people lose so much elasticity that skin hangs down from their armpits as well, causing embarrassment and difficulty with clothing. These patients are candidates for a combination arm/armpit lift with incisions on the upper arm and in the armpit.
  5. ELBOW LIFT: A smaller group of patients have loose skin above and below the elbow. These men and women benefit from an arm and elbow lift. Great care needs to be taken with the incision across the elbow to remove excess skin while preserving range of motion.

Recovery

Most arm lift patients take a week or two off work after surgery. Most of the swelling subsides after 3-5 days and the wound takes about 10-14 days to heal. You will be encouraged to walk as soon as possible, gradually adding light activities over a few days and resuming full workouts and lifting within 6 weeks.

Risks

Complications of brachioplasty have been rare in my experience. These uncommon risks include infection, slow wound healing, bleeding, seroma and venous blood clots. Even if a complication were to occur, diligent post-operative care would still likely lead to a nice result.

 

To learn more about your arm lift options and whether or not you are a candidate, email us at info@drtim.com.au or call our clinic at 13000DRTIM .