Barchioplasty is a procedure where excess skin and fat from the arm are removed and the remaining skin is sutured back together. The operation generally results in a slimmer, smoother contour of the upper arms.
Who Is A Candidate For Brachioplasty?
A patient with loose floppy skin in his/her arms that are droopy and look worse off when lifting the arms. Patients who present for brachioplasty tend to present after massive weight loss where they have lost significant amount of weight that left them with excess skin laxity and excess tissue in their arms
What Is The Difference Between Liposuction Of The Arms And Brachioplasty?
Surgical rejuvenation of the arms can be achieved by using arm liposuction, arm reduction or often a combination of these procedures. This depends on the overall bulk of the arm and quality of the skin-fat envelope. Liposuction is the easier alternative in patient with excess fat in that area who have less skin excess and good skin tone. For patients with loose skin, little amount of fat and poor skin tone, brachioplasty will be a better option.
How Long Is The Surgery?
Barchioplasty takes 1-2 hours. It is done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. The scar in brachioplasty differs among different surgeons. There are advantages and limitations of each technique. I prefer placing the scar in a lower-most position border of the arm. This will make it less conspicuous from the front and the back. Some surgeons prefer placing the scar in the “bicipital groove”. In my opinion, this will make the scar more visible when the arm is raised, moved and abducted. I hardly perform the T-shaped incision.
How Big Is The Incision?
The incision usually extends from the level of the elbow up to the armpit crease. Not infrequently, it may be extended to the adjacent upper trunk if there is tissue excess in that area.
Any Potential Drawbacks Or Complications From This Procedure?
Bruising, swelling and tightness in the arms are expected after this surgery. Altered sensory changes, tingling and numbness are not uncommon but temporary. Wound healing complications can occur especially in smokers. Not to mention the visibility of the scars depending on the technique used and healing of a particular patient. Other less frequent potential complications include bleeding, infection, stretched scars, asymmetry and residual skin laxity that may warrant revision surgery.
How About Recovery And Down Time?
Initial discomfort is controlled with oral medication. I see the patient on the following day in my office. Patients can go back to work in one week. I instruct my patients to wear a “Spandex” type compression garment for 2 weeks. Light activities can be resumed as tolerated and aerobic activities where arms can be lifted above the head in about 3 weeks. More strenuous activity is allowed in 4 to 6 weeks. Scars can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to flatten and fade away.
Can I Have Other Procedures Combined With Brachioplasty?
These patients tend to have laxity of their skin in other areas. Not infrequently, brachioplasty is combined with other procedures such as breast augmentation/lift, abdominoplasty, upper body lift and thigh lift. These combination procedures are carried out after careful evaluation as long as the patient’s health allows and cleared by their primary care physician.
Any Alternatives For Surgery?
This largely depends on the degree of the deformity. In marginal laxity, exercise and proper diet may aid in toning the underlying muscles as well as skin. Wearing long sleeve clothing may help to conceal it but may not be practical on the long run.