Brachioplasty surgery is surgery to remove the excess skin and fat from the upper arms (so called “bingo wings”) that develops with ageing or significant weight loss. It tightens the remaining skin and improves the contour of the upper arms. Afterwards many people are much more comfortable wearing styles of clothing and sportswear that expose the upper arm due to the improved shape.
Indications for Brachioplasty:
Limitations of Brachioplasty:
Pre and post surgery clinical photographs of your arms will be taken. Brachioplasty surgery is usually carried out under general anaesthesia (while you are asleep) with an overnight hospital stay. The surgery usually takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. If drains are used, they are removed the next morning before you go home. You will be asked to wear a support bandage or garment for 4 to 6 weeks afterwards.
If required, liposuction is usually done first before the skin excision procedure. In select cases where the skin tone is good and the issue is excess fat alone, liposuction may be the only technique needed for treatment This is not common and usually liposuction is carried out in addition to the main skin excision procedure. It is carried out through very small incisions where fluid is infiltrated and then a suction cannula is used to remove the fat. A narrow metal tube (suction cannula) attached to a suction pump is inserted through the very small skin incisions and used to remove the unwanted fat by moving it through the area to be treated under the skin. Most surgeons inject a local anaesthetic and adrenaline solution beforehand to help reduce pain and bleeding. Power or suction assisted liposuction is normally used.
Brachioplasty surgery is done via an incision running down the inside of the arm from inside the axilla or armpit to just above the elbow. The excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining tissue and skin are sutured back together improving the contour and shape of the upper arm. The tissue is not pulled overly tight as this gives an unnatural appearance and can cause problems with a stretched scar or it may be too tight for the internal tissues of the arm and can cause problems with a sharp cut off appearance between the area of surgery and the elbow/forearm area which are not involved in brachioplasty surgery. The upper arm contour needs to blend naturally into the forearm for the best appearance afterwards.
Short Scar Brachioplasty:
In some people, the amount of excess skin is mild. They may be suitable for a short scar version of the brachioplasty procedure where a transverse scar at the junction of the upper arm and the axilla is used for the surgery or a shorter version of the main procedure scar. It is important to understand that not as much tissue removal or not as significant a tightening or contouring effect can be achieved with a short scar brachioplasty.
You will have bruising and swelling in your arms afterwards which will peak at day 2 to 3 and slowly resolve over the weeks following this. Most of this will go in the next 4 to 6 weeks but swelling can persist for up to six months. You will have a scar running down the inside of your arm to the elbow and in to the axilla (armpit). You often have some temporary numbness of the overlying skin.
You will need to wear a compression garment for 4 to 6 weeks postoperatively. This helps to provide support to the skin and to keep swelling controlled.
Most people return to work after about 2 weeks depending on the nature of their work. Exercise or strenuous activities need to be avoided for 6 weeks post surgery. Light activities can be resumed within 2 weeks and normal activities are usually unrestricted after 6 weeks.
While most brachioplasty surgeries go very smoothly and patients are delighted with the results, as with any procedure there are some risks associated with brachioplasty.
Longevity of Procedure:
Brachioplasty surgery has a high success rate and is considered an excellent procedure for contouring the upper arms. The improvement in your arm contour is apparent early on although it is 6 to 12 months before the final result can be seen. The results are usually very long-lasting.
The natural ageing process of the body continues regardless of surgery and so may over time alter your body shape leading to recurrence of loose skin. Significant changes in weight can also affect the longevity of brachioplasty surgery.