Arm lift (Brachioplasty)

The only successful way of improving a saggy posterior arm is with a brachioplasty. In my experience and after having performed many of these procedures, the technique known as the ‘very short axillary scar brachioplasty’ is not worth considering, as it improves only a very small portion of the upper arm. The scars are usually stretched although they are hidden in the armpit.

The scars from a brachioplasty

Having performed hundreds of brachioplasty procedures, I believe that this type of surgery does not receive the support that it deserves. It is true that there are lengthy scars with this surgery, but the scars resolve well and are easily accepted by my patients, due to the fact that the improvement to their arms is so drastic.

The length of the scar depends on the position of the existing loose skin.  The scar usually extends from the axilla or armpit down to the elbow. I usually place the scar where it is hidden over the medial arm when the arm is held against the body. The scar can also be placed over the posterior (back) aspect of the arm, but this is usually visible to other people, which most patients seem not to want.

Most of my many patients, who have undergone this procedure, have reported that the end result of a brachioplasty far outweighs any concerns for the scar.

The procedure for a brachioplasty

Brachioplasty is a very positive operation with good results and the patients are universally happy. I perform many of these procedures on people who have lost a lot of weight, as well as in people who are embarrassed about their floppy arms. (Floppy arms seem to affect females far more than males and many patients presenting for brachioplasty have lost a lot of weight).

The incision and scar can be tailored for each individual patient depending on which part of the arm needs to be improved. Mostly the incision is the full length of the arm and stops at the elbow. Occasionally an extended brachioplasty is performed, where the scar is extended well into the forearm.

An extended brachioplasty is performed to correct sagging skin over the forearm as well. The scar is usually placed over the medial part of the arm, which I believe is the best position, as this completely conceals the scar when the arm is placed alongside the body. This is the position of your arm for 95% of your life.

During the procedure, I liposuck the area under the skin that is to be excised, so that the veins and nerves are preserved and there is no blood supply problem to any skin flaps. The skin is then excised and the defect is there closed with deep as well as hidden skin sutures, resulting in minimal scarring. The scar is often red for a few months and then gradually fades to a slim white line.

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and can be completed as a day only procedure. I do not leave drains in these procedures.

This procedure is uncomplicated and can be performed independently or combined with other procedures, such as abdominoplasty, lower body lifts or breast operations.

A few final words

A few patients are put off by the long scars resulting from this operation, but the results of removing all of that saggy skin from underneath their arms, quickly removes any hesitations they had prior to the procedure. The results of these operations speak for themselves, they make a dramatic difference in the lives of my patients.

So in conclusion, scarring is a concern, but I go out of my way to ensure that scarring is minimal and in areas that are not easily seen by the public. This is a fabulous operation that makes profound changes in the lives of my patients.

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