The effects of aging on the skin are familiar to all of us. Over time, the skin changes in four ways:
- It loses thickness.
- It loses elasticity.
- It loses adherence to the underlying tissue.
- It is affected by gravity.
At the same time, the deep layers of fat, muscle, and bone thin as well. The amount of elastic tissue and collagen present in the dermis (the deep layer of the skin) also decreases. One area where these changes are especially apparent is the upper arm. An arm lift—technically called a brachioplasty—can lift and tighten up loose skin in the upper arms, resulting in a firmer, more youthful contour. Upper arm surgery for flabby arms can mean no more avoiding sleeveless dresses and always carrying a cardigan with you. Think of the freedom you’ll feel!
Your doctor may offer you the choice between using a local or general anesthetic; however, most patients are most comfortable with a general anesthetic for this procedure.
The doctor begins by marking the area of excess skin, with the patient either standing or sitting. The anesthesia is administered. Incisions are made on the inner surface of the arm, most often in a zigzagged line. The pattern of skin removal usually follows an elliptical or triangular shape. Often, some fat is suctioned at the same time. The surgical opening may run from the armpit to as low as the elbow.
While the excess skin and fat is removed, the remaining skin is stretched and sutured into place. Occasionally, a drain is used to lead excess fluids from the incision site, allowing the skin better to adhere to the tissue beneath. The incisions are then bandaged. After a monitored time in the recovery room, patients can usually go home the same day.
The Long-Term Outcome
After they have plastic surgery for flabby arms, most patients have reported:
- Improved balance and proportion in the contour of the arm.
- Greater confidence and comfort in clothing.
- A natural and presentable appearance in the first week that gradually improves further over the next three to six months.
Please note that the natural aging process will eventually affect the whole body, including the area treated in this procedure. Still, the contouring effects of arm lifts are typically long-lasting, and most people are very pleased with the results.
To discuss flabby arm surgery and how it can work for you, visit our cosmetic plastic surgery office in National Harbor, Maryland, serving Washington, DC, and Alexandria, Virginia, request a free consultation online or call the office at 866-BELLA 06.
By Michael F. Chiaramonte, MD, FACS, Bella Cosmetic Surgery