Arm Lift / Brachioplasty Surgery

Arm Lift is also known as Brachioplasty Surgery. The operation can remove excess skin and fat, leaving the upper arms with a slimmer, more pleasing and youthful contour. As we age, our upper arm skin often becomes loose and flabby. This is sometimes referred to as “bingo wings” or “bat wings”.

An arm lift will renew your confidence to wear short sleeved tops again without feeling self-conscious. Brachioplasty, or upper arm reduction surgery, involves reducing this skin through an incision that runs on the inner part of the upper arm all the way from the elbow to the axilla, often crossing into the armpit. Liposuction may also be used at the same time to remove excess fat and to help re-shape your arms, or liposuction alone can be an effective scarless way to reduce your upper arms and reshaping it dramatically.

Summary

  • Local anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthetic.
  • Operating time about 1,5 hours.
  • Overnight hospital stay or Day Case.
  • Back to work within 1 week.
  • Compression garment for 4 weeks.
  • Full exercise after 6 weeks.

Am I A Good Candidate For Brachioplasty Surgery?

Many people develop excess skin in the inner aspect of their upper arms, as part of a normal aging process, but particularly if they lose significant amounts of weight, or the arms are just larger in proportion to the rest of your body. Surgery for arm lift / brachioplasty is performed if:

  • You have localized fat on upper arms but good skin.
  • You have excess skin & loose tissue on your upper arms.

Arm Lift surgery can be performed on a large variety of patients including normal weight patients who simply need a little tightening. As time goes on and gravity takes her toll, the extra skin might become bothersome. This creates difficulties wearing clothing that reveals the arms – you then tend to conceal this area by wearing long sleeved garments. If you have lost a significant amount of weight and have stabilized your weight and do not have any serious medical problems, the excess skin and fat in the upper arms (also called “bat wings”) may worry you. An upper arm lift procedure can then add considerably to your daily comfort and improve your appearance. During the consultation, you will be asked about the results you would like to achieve from your arm lift surgery. This will help us to understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved.

Brachioplasty – The Operation

There are a number of different techniques used to treat the problems with the upper arms depending on the distribution of the fatty tissue and skin quality.

Liposuction using WAL (water assisted liposuction with BodyJet® method)

For patients who have upper arm fat excess, with good skin without stretch marks and no skin excess, liposuction alone can be very effective. It is extremely good at removing the fatty issue of the arms, with the additional advantage of not leaving any visible scars. The skin has to be elastic enough to re-drape and give you a balanced result. Dr Stasch will assess during the consultation if you are a good candidate for arm lift liposuction surgery.

Skin tightening around armpit

For patients with minimal or moderate skin excess located near the armpit, an improvement can be attained through a scar limited to the armpit area / axilla. This is often combined with liposuction. The advantage of leaving the scar purely hidden within the armpit is that it is well concealed. However, if you do have excess skin tissue extending down the arm towards your elbow, this form of excision may not fully treat the whole arm.

Full arm lift reduction

For patients who present with a lot of upper arm excess, as in the case of most weight loss patients, tissue must be removed through a scar that runs from the elbow area to the armpit. The advantage of this procedure is that it is very effective at reducing the amount of skin and fat all the way down to your elbow. The disadvantage is a fine scar extending down the inner aspect of your arm. We will aim to conceal this scar in the inner aspect of your arm as it lies against your body so that it is not overtly visible from either the front or back, however, it will be visible if you raise your arm. Generally, the scar in your inner arm area tends to settle well with time.

After Arm Lift Surgery- Operation

  • You will be admitted on the day of surgery, and your length of stay depends on your recovery. Usually, you will stay in the hospital for the day or one night, particularly if combined with other procedures.
  • You will have tape dressings over your wound, and bandages along the whole length of your arms for compression. Preferably, the arms should rest on pillows above the level of your heart. This will reduce the swelling, which in turn will speed up recovery and prevent bruising. A small drain (plastic tube attached to a suction bottle) may have been placed to drain excess wound fluid and blood. The drains will usually be removed a day later.
  • On the day following surgery, we will encourage you to mobilize gently. You will also be fitted with a surgical compression garment to gently support your arms. You will be encouraged to wear this for 4 weeks following the operation. It is important to keep your hands and elbows moving in the weeks following surgery.
  • You will be mobile from day one and should be back to full exercise within six weeks. Stitches will not have to be removed, since they are absorbable. Most people have approximately 1 week off work following an upper arm lift procedure, depending on the type of work you do. It is important in the first 2 weeks to avoid any strenuous activities which can cause stretching to the incisions.

Brachioplasty Results

After Liposuction, results will be seen immediately while swelling tends to reduce during the following weeks. After an upper arm lift, the excess skin in the area is unlikely to return unless you do gain then lose a significant amount of weight. Once the excess skin has been removed, the appearance of your upper arms will be tighter and more harmonious, allowing you to wear closer-fitting clothes and making you less self-conscious about the appearance of this region. Most scars are inconspicuous when raising the arms. Ideally, the scars will heal well over time and will then be well concealed. Any scar goes through a maturation process, which takes a year to complete.

brachioplasty before and after

after brachioplasty surgery - recovery

  • You are encouraged to stay in bed following the surgery in a “beach-chair” position to reduce the tension on your tummy. This means your upper body will rest inclined, and your legs and thighs bent and supported by pillows. This reduces the tension on the freshly sutured tummy and improve recovery.
  • Move your feet and lower legs regularly to improve circulation in your legs and avoid DVTs (Deep vein thrombosis = clots in your legs).
  • With a full abdominoplasty / tummy tuck you will have tape dressings (steristrips) over your wounds, and tight tape dressings on your tummy.
  • At least two drains (plastic tubes attached to suction bottles) will have been placed to drain excess wound fluid and blood. The drains will usually be removed after 48 hours, and you will be given instructions about your dressings. On the day following surgery, we will encourage you to mobilize gently (walk around). You will also be fitted with a surgical compression garment to gently support your tummy. You will be encouraged to wear this for 6 weeks following the operation.
  • Post-operative pain in these procedures is easily controlled with pain tablets. Its less painful than a caesarian section.
  • You will be mobile from day one post-op and should be back to full exercise within six weeks. Stitches will NOT need to be removed as they are absorbable. Most people have approximately 2 weeks off work following a tummy tuck procedure, depending on the type of work they do. The recovery is slightly slower if you have had your muscles repaired as there will be more tightness. Important to point out is the fact that some people recover much quicker than others.
brachioplasty before and after

We will keep a close eye on you after your surgery and would normally see you for your follow-up appointments at regular dressing clinics every 2-3 days, 6 weeks and then 3 months following surgery, at which point your post-operative photographs will be taken.

What Complications Can Occur?

Whilst these operations are generally safe in the hands of a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon and regarded to be highly successful, there are, as with any operation, risks involved and the possibility of complications that patients need to consider. Postoperative pain will vary from person to person, but this is not considered a very painful procedure. The average patient undergoing an upper arm reduction procedure will usually require a few days of oral pain medication to treat discomfort and a feeling of tightness.

Smokers are strongly advised to discontinue smoking several weeks prior to surgery and after the operation, as smoking increases the risks of complications and delays wound healing by altering blood circulation in the skin. You can reduce your risks of complications by closely following our instructions before and after the surgery.

brachioplasty cost in Kenya

Brachioplasty cost depends on your circumstances and the technique we will perform.

For more information on arm lift costs, we invite you to book a consultation session with Dr. Stasch. During this confidential appointment, we can discover more about what you would like to achieve and find out if arm lift surgery is right for you.

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26 March 2024
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