Women everywhere will agree that the backs of the arms, more commonly known as ‘bingo wings’, are one of the most difficult areas on the body to keep toned. Even for people who do not carry much excess weight on their body as a whole, the upper arms can be a problem area. For most individuals who have lost a moderate to a large amount of weight, the excess skin can be incredibly problematic in this area, as the skin is very lax in this area and will not retract easily after weight loss.
How is a Brachioplasty performed?
Liposuction alone or Vaser liposelection to reduce the amount of fat can be used in a proportion of cases. This technique is only suitable if there is minimal skin laxity. Vaser liposuction may be particularly effective in this area since Vaser has an effect on producing some degree of skin retraction. However, if there is a lot of excess skin a surgical procedure to remove the skin will be required.
The excess skin can be removed using one of two techniques. In a mini-brachioplasty the incision is tucked high in the crease of the armpit. For a full-brachioplasty the scar will run vertically down the inner aspect of the arm. The decision between each technique will depend on the distribution and degree of loose skin.
What anaesthetic is required?
A Brachioplasty is performed under general anaesthetic and takes between one and a half hours to two hours. The surgery is carried out either as a day case in which case you can be allowed home the same day after the procedure. For more extensive procedures a one-night stay may be required.
What is the recovery?
You will be provided with a compression garment, which you must wear for three weeks after your surgery. You should take at least one week off work, and often it is recommended that you take two weeks off if your job involves heavy lifting. If you usually participate in a vigorous physical activity, you should avoid this for at least six weeks.
There will be some level of scarring as a result of Brachioplasty. However, these scars will be concealed on the insides of the arms, so that they are discrete, and completely hidden when the arms are held down by the sides. The degree of scarring will be discussed during your consultation, please be aware that scars can take up to 18 months to fully mature.
What are the risks of Brachioplasty?
Brachioplasty is a relatively straightforward procedure with which there is a little discomfort and the vast majority of patients have a smooth recovery period. However, as with all surgical procedures, there are minor potential risks such as infection or bleeding. The scars can occasionally heal adversely although this is quite rare and more commonly seen only in darker skin types. Also, there can be some minor impairment of the sensation to the skin around the scars but this usually returns to normal over a period of several months.