What is a brachioplasty?
“Brachioplasty ” or ” Arm lift” is a surgical procedure in which most of the back and undersurface of the arm is treated surgically. The goal of an arm lift is to get rid of excess tissue and skin of the affected areas and create a small and smooth arm. During this surgery the surgeon usually removes the redundant skin of the arm and in some cases the lateral chest and axilla and then sews the skin back together in a nice and aesthetically pleasing way.
In cases of significant weight loss, and especially in elderly populations the skin may not contract or spring back to its original position. This is because the skin has lost its elasticity. As a result, skin sagging and folding may appear for which many people seek medical or surgical treatment. The procedure not only eliminates skin excess, but can also improve the muscle tone.
How is a brachioplasty performed?
The procedure can be performed under both general and local anesthesia. When done under local anesthesia it is called “Awake brachioplasty”, which is gaining more and more popularity.
If done correctly, awake brachioplasty can achieve the same, if not superior results, compared to traditional surgery under general anesthesia. In addition, the adverse effects of general anesthesia and the potential side effects of the anesthesia medications can be avoided. As a result, the patient has a faster recovery, earlier discharge, and less down time before returning to work. Another important note is the price of the surgery is significantly reduced after eliminating the anesthesia fees that come with traditional surgery.
Awake brachioplasty can address general discomfort that may result from excess skin. In addition problems with hygiene, inflammation, rash and infection can be treated by the procedure.
Who can have an awake brachioplasty?
Brachioplasty either awake or under general anesthesia, is not a surgery for everyone. First you have to make sure, by talking to your surgeon, that it is the right procedure for you. Certain health conditions preclude you from having the procedure. You also need to have realistic expectations from the procedure and be relatively fit with stable weight, as losing weight after the surgery may cause sagging of the skin again and gaining weight may cause the scar to widen with stretch marks. Certain medications, like blood thinners and some pain medications should be avoided before surgery. Smoking should be stopped several weeks before as it has profound negative effects on wound healing. As the surgery results in a long visible scar on the arms, the patient needs to have a thorough understanding of the risks and benefits of the surgery and what is potentially achieved at the expense of the scar.
In general “Awake” brachioplasty is a safe and effective procedure for the right candidate as long as the patient has a clear idea of what is achieved and at what expense.