Arm lift, also known as brachioplasty or ‘bingo wings’ surgery, is a popular procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms. There are a number of reasons why you may develop excess skin or fat in the upper arms, as the result of ageing, genetics, significant weight loss or lipoedema. By removing the sagging skin and/or excess fat, the shape of the arm can be greatly improved.
For patients who have ‘bingo wings’ as a result of significant weight loss, the sight of sagging skin can act as a constant reminder of their heavier past. The sagging skin can also cause functional issues such as skin irritation and difficulty wearing clothes. For such patients, an arm lift can dramatically improve their self-confidence and address the functional issues.
Am I A Good Candidate For An Arm Lift?
The best candidates for arm lift surgery are those;
- Who have excess, sagging skin on the upper arms, from the armpit to elbow
- Whose weight has not changed significantly during the last 6 months
- Who are generally healthy and do not have a medical condition that could impede healing
- Who do not smoke
- Who have realistic expectations of the results and willing to follow all pre-op and post-op instructions
An arm lift can be performed in anyone after the age of 18 and the objective is to create natural-looking, slender, defined arms.
What Type Of Anaesthetic Will I Have For My Arm Lift?
In the majority of cases, Mr Karri performs arm lift under local anaesthetic with sedation. This approach facilitates a quick recovery and avoids all the unpleasant side-effects of a general anaesthetic, such as nausea, vomiting and sore throat.
Arm lift surgery involves an incision from the elbow to the armpit and removal of an ellipse of skin. Liposuction may be performed in conjunction with skin removal to ensure the resulting arm contour is ideal and in proportion with the forearm. For some patients, the incision may need to be extended onto the elbow and lateral chest wall to ensure the scar is flat throughout its length.
To minimise swelling and support the new arm contour, you will be required to wear a compression garment continuously for several weeks. Some swelling, bruising and discomfort is normal and to be expected, but resolves on its own over several days.
Prior to your surgery, Mr Karri and his team will give you detailed aftercare instructions. This will include how to care for the scar, pain relief and when you may resume normal activity. Although the upper arms will appear toned immediately after surgery, the final result will not be apparent for a number of weeks.
Risks of Arm Lift
Complications following an arm lift depend on numerous factors such as general health, smoking history and medications. Mr Karri will explain how risks apply to you and will send you detailed pre-operative instructions to minimise these risks. Risks include;
Scar / poor scarring – in some patients the scar may remain red and raised for a number of weeks
Over-correction / under-correction – although every effort is made to remove the correct amount of skin, one cannot predict the healing process. Skin may remain tight or excessively relax after surgery giving rise to the appearance of over-correction or under-correction.
Asymmetry – this could occur as a result of the normal healing process. Many patients have pre-existing asymmetry which an arm lift may not be able to completely correct.
Bruising and swelling
Numbness – an arm lift can affect superficial sensory nerves resulting in temporary numbness. This may take several weeks to resolve.
Bleeding & haematoma – excessive bleeding can ocur after surgery and rarely, may require surgical drainage.
Infection – antibiotics will be given at the time of surgery and afterwards to reduce the risk of infection
Delayed wound healing – as in any cosmetic surgery procedure, the quality of healing cannot be predicted. In some patients, the incision may take longer than expected to heal.
Risks of general anaesthesia