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 .

Breast Lift and Augmentation: The facts you need to know!

The goals of breast lift with or without breast augmentation are to restore shape, volume, and nipple-areola position. However, simultaneous breast lift and augmentation present multiple problems, specifically because it becomes harder to control all of the variables affecting the outcome when combining the two procedures. No single method is best to treat all types of sagging (ptosis), and maintaining a good blood supply to the nipple-areola complex is of paramount importance, so a staged procedure may be necessary at times.

Why is combining a breast lift and breast augmentation the most difficult of all cosmetic breast surgery procedures? The surgery involves manoeuvres that can be counterproductive to each other since the skin is being removed and when closed back up again, pushes the breast in and upwards, whilst an implant stretches the skin in an out and in a downwards direction. These conflicting tensions can adversely affect the blood supply to the breast and skin which may affect wound healing, scar quality etc. Positioning of both the nipple and breast fold also becomes more challenging during simultaneous lift and augmentation. Secondly, no two breasts are the same, and each patient is seeking a different endpoint, sometimes with unrealistic expectations.

The first thing that I do when evaluating a patient for a breast lift is to ask them if they are happy with their present breast volume. You can simply do this by pinching the skin below the breast and pushing it up where it belongs. Most women are amazed at how little of breast volume they actually have. If that is the case, then volume enhancement, usually with an implant, is necessary along with a lift. If the volume is satisfactory, then a breast lift will suffice.

The second thing to do is grade the amount of breast sagging. This is done by using Regnault’s classification which looks at the position of the nipple as follows:

1)  Grade 1 (minor): nipple at breast fold
2)  Grade 2 (moderate): nipple is below the fold but above the lower breast contour
3)  Grade 3 (major): nipple is below the fold and below breast contour
4)  Pseudoptosis (“false sagging”): nipple lies above the fold, there is little breast volume, some of which lies below the fold

Other characteristics that one looks out for are:

1) Skin: elasticity and excess;
2)  Breast tissue:  firm and fibrous or soft and fatty; and
3)  Skin-breast tissue relationship: firm and adherent or loosely adherent and is the breast full or empty. Skin quality and the skin-breast tissue relationship are the key factors in determining the breast lift procedure and the quality and longevity of the final result.

As a general rule, if the skin elasticity is normal, the breast envelope is full, and the skin is adherent to the underlying breast tissue, then the scars would be limited, and vice versa. In other words, one progresses from limited scars such as periareolar scars (scars around the nipple-areola complex) to periareolar-vertical scars (scars that run down the front of the breast below the nipple-areola complex) to more extensive, full-length inverted-T or anchor scars.

For the patient with “pseudoptosis,” inserting a breast implant alone, usually tear-dropped shaped, is typically all that is needed. For Grade I sagging, an implant alone or a lift plus an implant may be required.

Depending on a number of factors, the lift may be performed via a crescent, periareolar, or vertical approach. A vertical approach is preferred if there is significant looseness below the nipple. However, the periareolar incision is generally used in just a few specific situations. Since this skin-only incision is unable to lift much weight, it is an option in women with small breasts who need only a small amount of nipple repositioning, usually < 2 cm.

In addition, it is considered advantageous in women with pointed, conical or tubular breasts, because it causes areolar flattening and eliminates the tubular nature. The main issue I have with performing a periareolar breast lift is its tendency to cause areolar flattening and leave the areola more prone to stretching.

In Grade 2 sagging, especially where the breasts are large and heavy, a vertical breast lift is often required because it will effectively lift the breast tissue to achieve increased projection. However, a periareolar incision may still be considered for women with light breasts. When performing a vertical breast lift, the procedure may be converted into a short inverted-T lift if a difficulty is encountered controlling the nipple-to-breast fold distance.

With Grade 3 sagging, the lift technique depends on the nipple-to-breast fold distance. If it is > 10 cm, most surgeons perform an inverted-T breast lift. Otherwise, vertical breast lift remains an option that will enable control of the nipple-to-breast fold distance, as the vertical scar tends to shorten in the post-operative period with scar contraction.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim – Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

 

Watch Dr Tim on Channel 10’s The Sunday Project, discussing the new Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) task force he is heading up. The task force is investigating the risks associated with the BBL procedure as well as improving patient safety.

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Body lifts can be performed in two different ways, to treat either the upper or the lower body:

  • Lower body lift: The lower body lift is the most common type of body lift in my practice. It typically includes a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), thigh lift and buttocks lift performed at the same time. The incision is concealed around the waistline so that it’s not visible when wearing underwear or a bikini.
  • Upper body lift: For patients with severe skin laxity of the upper torso, an upper body lift may be the appropriate treatment. This typically includes a bra line back lift and upper abdominoplasty. The procedure is individualised for the particular patient.

To learn more about body lifts, request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

What Is a Mummy Makeover?

Many of today’s mums don’t feel they should sacrifice the way they look just because they’ve had children. After multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding, many women find it impossible for diet and exercise alone to restore their figures. These women usually want their tummies and breasts back the way they looked before pregnancy.

These so-called “Mummy Makeovers” are usually performed on women in their 30s or early 40s. There are multiple variations of the Mummy Makeover, of course, and I individualise the plan for each patient depending on their needs. Many women will not need or desire all of these procedures. Each patient determines what her personal Mummy Makeover will involve after we discuss her concerns and options in a thorough consultation.

A Mummy Makeover may be performed in one or more stages. Age, health, needs, and desires are all considered carefully when I formulate a plan for each patient. The majority of my patients choose to do more than one procedure at a time. I’ve had a great deal of experience performing these combined surgeries over the past decade. We take many steps to assure both minimal pain and maximum safety during our procedures:

  1. TUMMY TUCK: The tummy tends to experience the greatest change following pregnancy with stretch marks, loose skin and lower tummy fat being the most common complaints. The tummy muscles may also be stretched to the point that they remain separated in the midline, accentuating the patient’s lower tummy bulge. To treat these problems, I perform a tummy tuck where I remove the excess skin and fat from the tummy and tighten the muscles. Whenever we do a tummy tuck as part of the Mummy Makeover, we perform liposuction and pay special on to the belly button to help create a nice looking midriff.
  2. LIPOSUCTION: After having children, fat tends to redistribute to new areas on the body where it may be unwanted. This is frequently true even if women are successful at losing their baby weight. Most often, bulges of fat accumulated around the waist and on the thighs. On these areas, I frequently perform liposuction as part of a Mummy Makeover.
  3. BREAST SURGERY: The breasts go through dramatic changes with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Patient concerns about their breasts vary greatly, but the most common breast procedures I perform as part of a Mummy Makeover include:

Many of our patients for the Mummy Makeover travel from places outside of Sydney. Our staff can help with the planning of these sorts of trips through our CosmeticCulture Makeover Vacation Program, which makes travel for cosmetic surgery quite easy. More information is available on our website www.cosmeticculture.com.au, including descriptions of tummy tuck and breast augmentation or breast lifts as well as liposuction. You can also email us for more information at info@drtim.com.au or call us at 13000DRTIM.

Question:  Which parts of your post-childbirth body would you like to change with a Mummy Makeover? You can leave a comment below.

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Loose skin, stretch marks and fat on the abdomen are among the most common reasons patients seek an abdominoplasty from a plastic surgeon. In some cases, patients have excess skin and fat on the abdomen from weight loss. In other cases, age or pregnancy has changed the contour of the abdomen. Many are frustrated that diet and exercise don’t tighten their lower abdominal skin. Some even lose the motivation to exercise because they can’t see their muscles underneath their loose skin. For many of these patients, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is their best opportunity to reclaim a youthful figure.

To learn more about abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

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During pregnancy, skin may be stretched to the point that microscopic fractures form in the skin, or dermis, resulting in stretch marks (also known as striae). Caesarean section scars may accentuate fatty bulges by tethering the skin to the underlying muscles, causing the fat and loose skin to fold over the scar. The rectus abdominis muscles on the abdomen may become separated in the midline, creating a potbelly appearance. Fat also redistributes with age, becoming concentrated in the lower abdomen. The hourglass waistline of youth gives way to a larger midsection. That’s why many women choose abdominoplasty as part of their “Mommy Makeover” and as a bonus the Caesarian scar can be removed at the same time.

Although abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can achieve dramatic improvements, it’s important to also consider adjacent areas of the body for optimal results. For many patients, liposuction around the waist and thighs will provide more comprehensive results. Mothers will frequently choose breast surgery as well. This combination of procedures completes their transformation back to the hourglass figure they once had.

To learn more about abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

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Patients usually take at least 3-4 weeks off from work following a body lift. I encourage patients to ambulate shortly after surgery. They may resume full exercise approximately 6 weeks following surgery.

To learn more about body lifts, request a consultation by contacting us at 13000DRTIM or emailing us at info@drtim.com.au 

Supplements and Cosmetic Surgery

Herbal supplements and vitamins are known to have a significant and measurable effect on promoting wound healing, reducing bruising,  enhancing immunity, and reducing oxidation caused by both surgery and anaesthetic drugs. However, these supplements are still drugs that could cause dangerous side effects during cosmetic surgery. About 50% of cosmetic surgery patients take supplements (usually more than one), but often do not tell their surgeons because they assume they are safe.  Some  of  the  most  popular  herbal  supplements  taken  are  chondroitin,  echinacea, and  glucosamine:

  • Chondroitin is often used to treat osteoarthritis.  People using chondroitin may suffer from bleeding complications during surgery, particularly when used in combination with doctor-prescribed blood-thinning medications (like warfarin).
  • Echinacea is often used for the prevention and treatment of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, as well as chronic wounds, ulcers, and arthritis.  However, it can trigger immunosuppression, causing poor wound healing and infection.
  • Glucosamine, often offered in conjunction with chondroitin, contains chemical elements that mimic human insulin, and may artificially cause low blood sugars during surgery.

Other common supplements taken by patients that may cause thinning of the blood are the “4  Gs”  (gingko biloba, garlicginseng, and ginger), fish oils and Vitamin E.

Cosmetic surgery should be viewed with the same care and concern as heart or brain surgery. Everything we do is important for our patients, so every precaution and safety should be taken to minimise complications from surgery and anaesthesia. Remember, we need your help and cooperation at all times.  Advise us of every drug you take, prescribed and non-prescribed and cease taking any blood thinning agents 2 weeks prior to surgery unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney  Cosmetic  Plastic  Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au

Dangers of Excessive Weight Loss

Many women that I see for body contouring usually have tried exercise and dieting to some extent or other prior to resorting to liposuction or surgery. A minority of women have taken drastic measures like excessive gymming or starvation diets to try and fit into single digit or low teen dress sizes. This can, however, cause irreparable health problems like the following:

  • no menstrual cycle or abnormal menstruation in women.
  • prevent women from becoming pregnant.
  • cause premature delivery, the birth of low-weight babies who are also undernourished.
  • loss of libido due to suppression of Follicle  Stimulating  Hormone (FSH) and other secondary sex hormones in the brain.
  • suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which is responsible for the release of sex hormones
  • anorexia or poor nutrition can lead to osteoporosis.

My advice is that no weight loss or fitness program should be undertaken without the direct supervision of your doctor.  Whether you should lose weight, how much you should lose and how you should lose it are decisions that should be made by a medical professional, who may need to refer you to a nutritionist or endocrinologist for further work-up and counseling.  If you want to lose weight and keep it off, your doctor must be part of the equation.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Tim  –  Sydney Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

www.cosmeticculture.com.au
www.drtim.com.au