Arm Reduction Surgery
As we age, the skin of our upper arms begins to sag and hangs from the lower side of the arm when the arm is extended. Arm reduction (brachioplasty) can remove the loose skin and underlying fatty tissue. You should know that you will have a noticeable scar, so please bear this in mind, as you may feel reluctant to bare your arms after the procedure.
This condition can also occur after substantial weight loss, even in much younger people. If you have lost a great deal of weight, this surgery can be an important part of restoring a balanced body shape.
During your consultation your surgeon should take a medical history and ask you about your goals for the procedure. He should discuss the surgery and make sure you understand that you will be left with visible scarring.
As body scars do not fade as much as those on the face, plastic surgeons have made efforts to reduce the visible scars. New techniques have evolved using a combination of liposuction with a shorter scar arm lift, but these are generally more suitable for people with smaller amounts of loose skin and fatty tissue to be removed, and whose skin has retained some elasticity. The surgeon should discuss whether you would be a suitable candidate for this approach. If you have significant sun damage, extensive stretch marks or very loose skin, you would not make a good candidate for short scar surgery.
What to expect from your operation
The procedure is normally performed under general anaesthetic and you can either return home the same day or have an overnight stay in hospital. Depending on the amount of skin & fatty tissue to be removed, the scars may be placed in the armpit; in the armpit, extending a short way on the inner part of the arm or; along the inner arm from elbow to armpit. The procedure normally takes around 1.5 hours.
After your surgery
You should not experience a significant amount of pain. However, suitable pain relief should be provided by your surgeon/anaesthetist.
As you recover there are some things you should expect:
• Some swelling and bruising is normal and should resolve in a matter of days or weeks.
• Absorbable sutures should be used. Your dressings will be removed in 1 week.
• You can wash, but it would be best to keep the dressings dry for the first week.
• Sometimes hands and wrists may swell after surgery on your arms. Try to keep your arms elevated on pillows at your sides in the first week.
• 2 to 4 postoperative visits are usually required, but you may need additional visits if more scar management is necessary.
• The surgeon should suggest ways to minimise your scars, such as using silicone gel and massage for a period of several months, or using a tape impregnated with silicone applied straight over the scar.
• Arm movement should be reduced for 1 month.
• Complications from arm reduction surgery are rare but may include infection, bleeding and excessive scarring.