Other Than Liposuction, is Brachioplasty/Arm Lift Performed with Other Procedures?
As more men and women lose massive amounts of weight, many plastic surgeons will perform procedures such as Body Lifts, Thigh Lifts and Butt Lifts on patients who have had Brachioplasty.
A common method is to precede Brachioplasty with the Body Lift and allow three months in between the procedures. However, the Brachioplasty can be performed simultaneously with a Breast Lift (Mastopexy) or Breast Reduction.
How Is An Arm Lift or Brachioplasty Performed?
During Standard Brachioplasty, it is possible to perform limited Liposuction of the arms in order to better contour and prepare the arms for a lift. This method involves an incision that extends from the axilla, or armpit, to the elbow on the inside of the arm. The excess skin flab is completely excised. First, the deep layers of the wound and then the more superficial, and finally the skin wound is closed with mostly dissolvable sutures. Before closure, drains are placed and brought out through small holes in the axilla. The final scar is usually a T-shaped line with the long limb going along the length of the arm, and the short limb extending across the armpit. (Some surgeons vary the shape of this scar into an L-shaped scar.) There are usually two different locations for the placement of the long arm of the T-scar. Some patients and doctors prefer placing this line on the most dependent or the lowest point of the arms, while others like the scar to run along the mid section of the arm. The advantage of the first type is that it does not show as much with the arms opened apart, but its disadvantage is that from the back it is more visible. With the second option, the scar is not as noticeable from either the front or the back as long as the arms are at the sides.
In the case of an Extended Brachioplasty, the incision is extended from the elbow to the axilla and then along the outer aspects of the chest, in some ways, like the seams of a shirt or jacket. The transition from the arm to the chest is made into a zigzag scar, which is placed in the axilla, in order to prevent formation of cicatrical scar bands.
What Is Brachioplasty/Arm Lift Recovery Like?
Recovery takes three to four weeks. Following surgery, your arm will be placed in a special compression garment to help the newly sculpted skin adhere to the underlying tissue. Also, you will probably have thin drains inserted under each arm to collect fluid, and which will be removed in two to three days. You should expect to feel groggy for at least a week, although each person’s recovery is unique. During this time, you will be advised to avoid lifting and strenuous movements. Your plastic surgeon will also tell you to keep your arm elevated with pillows to minimize discomfort while you heal. Sutures are usually removed within two to three weeks, and swelling and bruising generally take three to six months to disappear. Scars will remain visible, but fade for up to two years. Most patients can return to work after one week, unless it involves strenuous physical activity.
There are varying points of view about having patients wear compression garments. Some cosmetic surgeons emphasize the importance of wearing one for about three weeks. Other cosmetic surgeons disagree, stating that the constriction often results in blistering.
The latter group of physicians recommends other methods to control post surgical swelling and bruising. These include an herbal combination of Arnica Montana, a plant extract, and bromelain, a pineapple extract. The recommendation is that they be used three or four days prior to surgery and for a couple of weeks post-surgery. These are options that you should discuss thoroughly with your plastic surgeon.
Some plastic surgeons also recommend improving lymphatic drainage and decreasing swelling and bruising through a series of lymphatic drainage massage treatments, to be performed once a week for three weeks. Some surgeons offer this massage therapy in their offices. Patients are encouraged to massage their scars after the sutures are removed.