WHY AND WHEN IS A BRACHIOPLASTY PERFORMED?
An arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove droopy, unattractive skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arm. With time and also those who lost a great deal of weight, the upper skin can become loose and flabby. Liposculpture may be used in conjunction with the arm lift in individuals who have fat deposits in addition to sagging skin.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE OPERATION?
This operation is done as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. Usually, this procedure takes 2-4 hours. The surgeon will make long cuts on the skin of the upper inner arm; therefore, you will be left with long scars after the surgery.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS?
There are general risks associated with a general anesthetic such as aspiration of stomach content into the lungs which can cause serious illness or death. Therefore, to help prevent this it is mandatory that you do not eat or drink anything (usually 8 hours) preceding your surgery. Other risks include DVTs, (clots in the veins of the legs) which can break off and travel to the lungs, this is known as an embolus and although very rare, can be life threatening; especially in smokers. You will be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible to reduce these risks. Like all surgical procedures, there is always a possibility of risks, side effects and, although rare, complications which can include; infection, a reaction to the anesthesia, blood or fluid collection underneath the skin, nerve damage, blood clots and an irregular or ” lopsided” appearance of the arm(s) after the operation.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE OPERATION?
You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first 24 hours after surgery. You may experience some pain which should be alleviated by the pain medications. After an upper arm lift, dressings will be applied and temporary tubes may be put in to drain excess fluid from the area of surgery. Firm elastic bandages are then applied to support the area. These dressings, drainage tubes and bandages are in place to assist in your healing process and should only be removed by your surgeon. The surgery does produce a permanent scar. Your scars may actually appear to worsen during the first 3-6 months as they heal, but this is normal. Expect it to take 9-12 months before your scars flatten out and lighten in color. Bruising is always visible after upper arm lift surgery and can spread down the arms. Swelling can also be very obvious and can take up to 3-4 months to disappear. You may also experience numbness of the skin around the upper arms and it may take several months for the sensation to return.
WHEN CAN NORMAL ACTIVITIES BE RESUMED?
No lifting for 3-5 days, and no heavy lifting for 2 weeks. Normal activity can usually be resumed in 7-10 days. You can usually resume vigorous exercise after approximately 4-6 weeks.
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