INTRODUCTION TO ARM LIFT SURGERY
When loose skin forms on the upper arms it is usually due to extreme weight loss or just the natural ageing process.
They are sometimes unflattering called ” bingo wings”. This problem means that women are very reluctant to wear short-sleeved clothing because this exposes the problem even more.
Arm lift surgery is very common and is called a Brachioplasty in Plastic Surgery.
A brachioplasty can remove the unwanted loose skin on the upper arms and tighten the area to give a much better pleasing look. This enables those suffering from the dreaded bingo wings to finally wear summer clothing without embarrassment.
The consultation is the first step when you are seriously considering an arm lift operation.This must be with a fully qualified Plastic Surgeon. The consultation should be with the Surgeon who is actually going to carry out your procedure. Before you even go to the consultation, it’s a very good idea to make a list of the questions that you would like to ask. In a consultation it can be a bit stressful and you may forget to ask key questions along the way. Plastic Surgeons are usually impressed by this approach as it shows that their Patient is considering all aspects of the operation fully and seriously.
Expect your consultation to last anything between half an hour and one hour. The length of the consultation is not the most important thing. The main objective is that you come away from the consultation feeling that all of your questions have been answered and you feel reassured that you are in the right hands. Some Plastic Surgeons charge a fee for consultation, others do not. In many cases the fee for the consultation is deducted when the Patient proceeds with surgery.
At the consultation your Plastic Surgeon will ask you what, in your own eyes, you would like to achieve. He may make notes as you speak to refer to later in the consultation. Try to give your Surgeon a clear a picture as possible so that there are no grey areas or doubts.
At some point the Plastic Surgeon will examine you and make his assessment of what could be achieved with arm lift procedure for you.
He will make notes and probably take a medical history to see if there is any reason why you should not have surgery. In some cases he may refer you to another specialist or ask your family Doctor for more information.
Your Plastic Surgeon will then discuss the pros and cons of brachioplasty surgery with you. He will not only explain what can be achieved but he will also go on to explain the potential risks and complications of the procedure.
Following this you should have plenty of time to ask any questions that , by this time, you feel have not been answered. Feel free to ask anything that you want. Most Plastic Surgeons have heard everything, so there is no reason to hold back !
At your consultation you should be provided with a clear explanation of the cost of the operation. It is vital to understand what is included and what is not included in the fee. Sometimes there may be additional charges such as further hospital fees in the event that you have to return for further surgery or treatment. Make sure that you are clear about what you have to pay.
Most Plastic Surgeons recommend a period of reflection after the consultation. This is basically time for you to think about what has been said. When you feel that you are ready to proceed you can move on to the next stage of the process.
When you are ready to proceed with your operation you will need to make the required arrangements. Usually Plastic Surgeons have dedicated staff to arrange everything for you. Their job is to book everything up and make the process as smooth as possible for you.
Upon booking you are likely to be provided with a number of different pieces of information. These may include a list of things to bring to the hospital and a confirmation time for your arrival at the hospital.
You may also be required to attend for certain pre operative tests before the operation can go ahead. These could include blood tests , ECG and chest x-ray depending on what the Surgeons requests in your case.
You will need to start and think about a suitable date. Remember that you are going to need around seven to fourteen days off work, so you will need to plan some holiday from work perhaps. If you have young children you might need some help around the house in the first couple of weeks or so as you wont be able to lift anything heavy.
Upon admission to the hospital you may be seen by the anaesthetist prior to the surgery. Usually your operation will be one or a number of other cosmetic surgery procedures that your Plastic Surgeon will perform on that day. So remember that your admission time might not be the time that you have the operation.
Arm-lift surgery operations n the United Kingdom are performed under general Anesthetic. This means that you will be asleep for the procedure. The operation itself can take between one hour and two hours.
The Surgeon will remove the excess skin with an incision from the armpit area to just above the elbow. The exact nature of the incision will be discussed with you at your consultation, depending on what the Plastic Surgeon feels is most appropriate in your case. The excess skin of the upper arms is then removed and the area is sutured afterwards to complete the operation.
When you wake up from the procedure you may have some discomfort. Pain relief will be available and your Nursing team together with your Plastic Surgeon will do everything to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible.Normally you will be asked to stay in hospital for one night. In some cases the Plastic Surgeon may request a two night stay.
Upon discharge from the hospital you will given clear post operative instructions which you should follow carefully. If the Plastic Surgeon has asked you to take medication you may be issued to buy the required drugs. Typically you may be put on a course of antibiotics and painkillers.
AFTER THE OPERATION
You should expect some discomfort after the procedure. Initially you will have swelling of the tissues and the area may feel quite sore. This swelling does settle in time. You may also have some bruising to the operated area. During the first ten to fourteen you may want to remain at home and not go to work. Allow one to two weeks off to be sure.
Your Plastic Surgeon will advise you when its time ro return to the hospital to have the sutures removed. He will either do this himself or ask one of his Nursing team to do this for you. In any event he will want to see you for a check up to see how things are going. Thereafter there is usually a series of check ups to have over a period of months. This is to see how the arms are settling down. It can take a few months for everything to completely settle.
As part of your check ups your Plastic Surgeon will be checking to make sure that your arm is healing well and that there are no complications.
As we have mentioned before, there are risks with arm lift surgery which you should be aware of .
Some of these include infection, hematoma, and there are others which your Surgeon will have covered with you at your consultation.
Infection could happen through no fault of your own or the Surgeon. Every precaution is taken to minimise the risks of infection but they cannot be eliminated altogether.