Stubborn pockets of fat can form anywhere on the body. The most common area is the upper arms. Arm fat is very difficult to shift through diet and exercise alone. Meanwhile, loss of skin elasticity, hereditary factors and gravitational forces can all contribute to sagging that is commonly referred to as ‘bingo wings’. Many people become self-conscious of the appearance of their upper arms and choose to cover them up using long sleeve tops and jackets, but there is an alternative – an arm lift.
An arm lift, which is also known as brachioplasty, is a popular and straightforward form of cosmetic surgery that is designed to target excess skin and fat that has formed on the upper arms. This surgery itself is carried out under general anesthetic, meaning that you will be asleep and not feel any discomfort at any point during the procedure.
Once you have been anesthetized, your surgeon will make a large incision vertically down the inside of the upper arm. The placement of the incision is to target the area where there is the most sagging and to help hide the scarring that will occur. The incision may be long, but it is pencil thin. Excess fat is removed via liposuction. This is where a thin cannula is passed into the area that is attached to a vacuum. Saline solution may be injected into the fat to help break it up, and it is then sucked through the cannula and out of your body. Working the cannula can enable your surgeon to create a smoother, more defined appearance to your upper arms. Once the liposuction is complete, your surgeon will pull the skin tight and secure it with sutures. This will give your arms a much tighter, toned and more youthful appearance.
Although you will have a general anesthetic for the procedure itself, most patients will be able to go home the same day as their surgery. You will need to wait while your anesthetic wears off, and during this time you may feel nauseous, disorientated, or confused. This should wear off in a few hours, but you will still need someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.
Compression garments will be placed onto your arms, over your dressed wounds. These help to control swelling and inflammation and will support the incisions as they heal. It is essential that you wear these exactly as directed as they will help to speed up the recovery process and minimize your risk of complications. Some discomfort is normal, and your surgeon will speak to you about the pain medications that you can take and when you should take them. They will also give you extensive aftercare advice that you should follow during your recovery period, as suggested to take time off work to heal and rest.
During post recovery, it may take several weeks for you to see the swelling completely disappear so that the results of your surgery are visible. Most patients will be able to see a good indication of the improvement of the appearance of their upper arms within a few months. The scar used for your surgery will also fade over time and your surgeon will give you advice on how to care for it so that it looks as discreet as possible.
If you have concerns about the appearance of your upper arms and would like to talk to someone about surgery to improve them, our knowledgeable and experienced cosmetic surgery team would be delighted to help. Located in San Francisco, CA contact us today at 415-712-1800.