Fatty arms, hanging skin of the arms and what to do about it.
As a result of aging, weight gain, hormonal decline, sun damage, gravity and other genetic factors, some of us tend to accumulate excessive fat in the under surface of our arms. Although this condition may be annoying year round, it is especially embarrassing in the summertime when the arms are exposed. Unfortunately, covering up with long sleeve clothing does not conceal fatty arms either because the arms appear larger and unproportionate compared to the rest of the body. In spite of exercise and diet, fatty arms fail to respond to normal measures of proper nutrition and exercise. Even savvy gym rats know that one cannot “spot exercise” arm fat away because the under-arm muscles do not directly communicate with the arm fat above.
After the age of 45, and especially after 50, declining hormonal changes also seem to instigate fat accumulation in the underside of the arms. Since hormonal optimization is such a vast area of exploration and research, please refer to the hormonal optimization section of this website, as it is not covered herein.
Pregnancies, birth control and other genetic factors also play a role in the proportional fat accumulation in the arms.
Can I diet the fat of my arms?
No, you cannot spot diet your arm fat away. It’s also important to remember that when you lose weight, 75 percent of the weight you’re losing is water.
Can I eliminate fat on my arms by exercise alone?
No, you can exercise muscles, but it will have little effect on your excess fat and excess skin.
Since there are three separate areas of the human arm, each area has its own treatment method for effective results. The three different anatomical areas are: 1) Excessive fat 2) Loose, sagging, excessive skin 3) Sun damage, wrinkles, stretch marks.
What is an Arm Lift (or Brachioplasty)?
A brachioplasty, or arm lift, involves excess skin removal of the under surface of the arm. The arm lift is a delicate and a precise surgical procedure. Thus, our plastic and cosmetic surgeons mold their surgical approach unique to the contour and body structure of each individual patient. The excessive skin is dissected and removed via two different surgical approaches
Short scar brachioplasty, also known as minimal scar brachioplasty. This scar is a few inches long and is located in the under surface of the upper arm near the armpit.
Longitudinal, long scar brachioplasty . This scar extends from the armpit to the elbow in the under surface of the upper arm.
Both methods of brachioplasty are performed as outpatient surgery. General anesthesia usually is the preferred – both for the physician and the patient – and most common method.
During the arm lift surgery
After marking the patient with a surgical marking pen and determining how much skin will be removed, the first step of the actual brachioplasty is circumferential and thorough liposuction to remove all excess fat. Then, with precise calculations, the excess, unwanted skin is conservatively excised. The remaining skin edges are then meticulously sutured together.
After arm lift surgery
All scars initially protrude and are visibly pink or red in color but slowly contract, regress, camouflage and fade away.The final appearance of the scar depends on the individual patient’s genetic makeup in regard to scar creation and retraction.
Healing after a brachioplasty can take up to a few weeks, during which time patients are instructed not to exercise or move their arms excessively. Special arm bandages and garments will are provided. The patient will be privileged with lasting results, meaning only one procedure is usually required. In some cases, multiple surgeries can be necessary for optimal results.
Frequently Asked Questions
IS THE ARM LIFT PROCEDURE SAFE?
Yes, very safe.
HOW COMMON IS THE BRACHIOPLASTY?
Increasingly common. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently reported that the brachioplasty patients are up 4000 percent in the last decade. More than 15,000 American women had an arm lift in 2012, the highest number in history. As more women have the surgery, more women who are unhappy with their sagging arms are realizing that there is a real solution.
IS THERE DOWNTIME?
Yes, about three to seven days, with limited restrictions extending out over a few weeks post arm lift surgery.
DOES IT HURT?
During the initial few days after arm lift surgery you may experience some discomfort, hence we will prescribe pain medications.
WILL YOU HAVE DRAINS?
No, usually there are no drains.
DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR A SPECIAL GARMENT AFTER ARM LIFT?
A compression garment is worn for two to three weeks after arm lift surgery to promote optimal healing and results. The garment helps maintain the natural contours of your arms, decreases swelling, decreases scar widening, decreases healing time and minimizes discomfort.
DO YOU NEED TO TAKE MEDICATIONS BEFORE OR AFTER?
Yes, we prescribe antibiotics for a few days after arm lift surgery only as a preventative measure and pain medications as needed.
DO YOU NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT BEFORE ARM LIFT SURGERY?
Technically, no, but losing weight will be extremely helpful to attain optimal results.
DO YOU NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT AFTER ARM LIFT SURGERY?
Again, it is always helpful to lose excess weight after surgery.
DO YOU NEED TO BE HOSPITALIZED FOR ARM LIFT SURGERY?
No, outpatient surgery is performed right in the comfort and privacy of our own surgical suites.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF ARM LIFT SURGERY?
Though rare, it is possible to have scarring, infection or adverse side effects to anesthesia (particularly rare).
WHAT ARE THE CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BRACHIOPLASTY?
Extreme obesity, serious illness, active infection pregnancy, breast feeding and immune compromising illnesses. Other contraindications would include anyone who smokes, is on blood thinners or has a recent history of blood clotting. It is important to inform your surgeon if you fit into any of these categories.
CAN A BRACHIOPLASTY HELP REDUCE EXCESS FAT?
Yes, definitely. Fat removal is an important aspect of the arm lift procedure.