Brachioplasty (Arm reduction)

Overview

As a result of weight loss and the normal age related effects on skin laxity, men and women often develop an excess of upper arm skin and fat which tends to hang down as a loose fold extending from the armpit and the elbow region. This is especially noticeable when the arm is outstretched.

A brachioplasty ("arm reduction") is an operation to remove excess fat and skin from the upper arm in order to improve the shape and contour of this region of the body. The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes 2 hours to perform and  requires 1 night stay in hospital. During the procedure the excess skin and fat are excised leaving a short horizontal scar in the armpit connected to a long scar on the inside part of the arm extending from the armpit to the inside of the elbow region. The wounds are stitched with dissolving sutures leaving the resulting scars as hidden from view as possible. This cosmetic procedure has high patient satisfaction and low complication rate. It can be performed in conjunction with liposuction if additional excess fat needs removing.

Frequently asked questions

Am I suitable for a brachioplasty?

What are the benefits of a brachioplasty?

Where are the scars?

Is the procedure painful?

How long does it take to recover from the surgery?

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

Will I be told the risks and complications?

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Am I suitable for a brachioplasty?

Not everyone is suitable for an abdominoplasty. Suitability is a matter for you and Mr Johnson to discuss in clinic, following a thorough analysis of your medical history and a thorough clinical consultation.

What are the benefits of brachioplasty?

The surgery improves the contour and shape of the upper arm increasing patient confidence and improving self esteem. Patients who have had a brachioplasty enjoy being able to wear clothes and swimwear that they would have previously been to embarrassed to wear.

Where are the scars?

There is one long scar extending from the armpit to the inside aspect of the elbow region connected to a short scar placed horizontally in the armpit.

Is the procedure painful?

During the operation strong painkillers are administered so that when patients wake up from the surgery they will be comfortable. Local anaesthetic injections along the wound given at the time of surgery also helps numb the area. It is normal for patients to experience some discomfort from the scar line. On discharge from hospital, any discomfort from the wounds can usually be managed with simple tablet type painkillers such as paracetamol etc.

How long does it take to recover from surgery?

Following surgery, you will be given a tubigrip support bandage to wear for 1 week. For the first two weeks postoperatively, you should not lift anything heavier than a kettle. Depending on your job you can usually return to work for light duties after 1 week. After your first wound check you will be given a series of gentle exercises to prevent stiffness in your elbow and shoulder following discharge from hospital, but no sport, strenuous exercises or weight lifting should be undertaken until six weeks following surgery or until you are seen by Mr Johnson for review.

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

The visual improvement in upper arm contour will be immediately apparent following brachioplasty surgery. However, there may some bruising, swelling and numbness around the wound which may last several weeks. The scars will undergo a natural maturation process involving a series of colour and texture changes over a period usually varying from 6 months to 2 years. The final result can usually be judged at around 1 year following surgery. The results of brachioplasty are long lasting but large fluctuations in weight, and the normal age related effects on skin laxity can lead to a recurrence of loose skin over time.

Will I be told the risks and complications?

Complications are uncommon following brachioplasty. During your initial consultation Mr Johnson will have a full discussion with you about the risks and complications of surgery. If you decide to go ahead with surgery, these risks will again be discussed as part of the consenting process. Fortunately, with correct patient selection and appropriate procedure selection, the risks are kept to an absolute minimum. It is important that you be reassured that Mr Johnson will not agree to perform any cosmetic procedure on you unless he feels the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.

What follow-up appointments will there be?

Mr Johnson will come and see you on the ward after your surgery and will review you everyday throughout your hospital stay. After you have been discharged Mr Johnson will arrange to see you in clinic after 7-10 days to review the wound. He will then make arrangements to see you in clinic for longer term follow-up appointments. You will be given contact details for the hospital and Mr Johnson's secretary should you wish at any time to discuss further aspects of your care or make additional arrangements for review.


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