What is an Arm Lift?
Another procedure that can be considered as a mommy makeover surgery is an arm lift. An arm lift is also known as a brachioplasty. It is a procedure that is used to combat the effects of weight loss and aging by eliminating excess skin that sags and hangs from the upper arm, primarily in the triceps area, or the upper underarm which is the area that extends from the armpit to the elbow. The procedure also gets rid of excess fat pockets in the upper arm. The sagging and drooping skin found on the underarm is sometimes referred to as “bat wings.” Often times, liposuction may be used to achieve optimum results.
The Costs of an Arm Lift
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2006 the average cost of an arm lift was $4,257. The cost, of course, will vary based on the physician and the location of the surgery, as well as how extensive the surgery needs to be. Anesthesia and operating room fees are not included in this average. Because most insurance plans don’t cover arm lifts, there are some extra costs to keep in mind.
Other fees for this surgery may include:
- medical tests
- the anesthesia fees
- costs for prescription medications
- hospital costs
- post surgery garments
- the surgeon’s fee
Most surgeons provide some type of financing that can help you pay for your arm lift surgery.
The Best Candidates for Arm Lifts Are:
- adults with excess sagging and drooping skin
- people with a stable weight
- not overweight
- people with realistic expectations and goals concerning plastic surgery
- people in good health who don’t possess any medical conditions that would impede healing
- individuals who lead a healthy lifestyle and are willing to do what’s necessary to preserve their results
- people who are okay with having scars in exchange for better looking arms
How is an Arm Lift Performed?
Having previously decided on his or her course of action beforehand, your surgeon will mark the areas to be incised. Anesthesia will be administered before the procedure is performed. There are two types of anesthesia used for an arm lift:
- IV or intravenous sedation
- general anesthesia
Your doctor should discuss these with you at your consultation before making a recommendation.
After anesthesia, your plastic surgeon will make incisions under both arms. The amount of skin and fat that needs to be removed and the surgeon’s chosen technique will be the deciding factors on how these decisions will be made. They may even be different on each arm. The most common locations of the incisions are on the inner arms, or the back of the arms, or the minimal incision which is located under the armpit.
Two things that will help dictate your surgeon’s approach to your surgery are: the amount of excess fat and skin under your arms and the quality of your underarm skin. If it is warranted, liposuction (the vacuuming of excess cells through a thin tube called a cannula or a microcannula) will be performed. How extensive the liposuction will be will depend on how serious your particular case is, i.e. how much excess fat you have in your underarm area.
If there isn’t much excess fat and loose and hanging skin near your armpit, your surgeon may perform what is called a limited incision brachioplasty. This is where some of the excess skin is pulled taut and tucked up into the armpit.
The standard brachioplasty will be chosen if you have classic the “bat wings” on your underarm area. “Bat wings” normally extend from the armpit to the elbow. With this technique, the underarm is liposuctioned if necessary and the excess skin is surgically excised and a prominent scar is left at the bottom of both of the upper arms.
Loose skin that extends from the upper arms to the chest wall will require what is called an extended brachioplasty. This amount of loose skin is normal for patients who’ve lost a significant amount of weight.
Those who have an enormous amount of excess soft-tissue will benefit the most from a fish incision brachioplasty. It is called this because the mathematical and anatomical measurements and markings are fish shaped. A non-excisional brachioplasty is a technique that is useful for avoiding nerve injury and post op seromas, which is the collection of fluid buildup under the skin’s surface. It involves excessive liposuction under the area where the skin is excised so that it’s paper thin. The tissue is then folded back in on itself and closed with a skin edge closure or dermal to dermal sutures.
The Risks of Arm Lift Surgery
Just like all types of surgery, there are always risks involved. For arm lift surgery, below you’ll find a list of the common ones:
- excessive bleeding
- blood clots that can cause stroke, heart attack, or deep vein thrombosis
- potential allergic reactions to anesthesia
- seroma, which is fluid buildup under the skin and the surgical area
- prolonged swelling
- inflamed or itchy scarring
- collapsed lung
- necrosis or tissue death
- uneven skin
Arm Lift Results
One of the differences with an arm lift as compared with other plastic surgeries is that the results can be seen immediately. Yes, because it is still surgery, there will be swelling and bruising and scarring from the incision under the arm. As with other mommy makeover plastic surgeries, the results have the potential to be and remain permanent as long as you maintain your weight consistently. The only change that may occur is a loss of firmness as your body ages. The most important thing you can do to ensure the best results is to follow your doctor’s pre and post operative instructions in full.
For more information on arm lifts, check out the American Society of Plastic Surgeons :
Arm Lift Surgery:
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