With aging, skin also undergoes changes in many ways. Skin loses thickness, elasticity, adherence to the underlying tissue and is increasingly affected by the gravity. The amount of elastic tissue and collagen present in the dermis (the deep layer of the skin) also decreases. One of the areas where these changes are most evident is the upper arm where the skin relaxes and droops.
An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty is a standard surgical procedure mainly performed for aesthetic reasons. This surgery takes two hours and is done under general anesthesia.
An arm lift procedure involves removal of excess skin, mostly on the inside of the upper arm, making the skin tighter again. An arm lift is often combined with a liposculpture, a procedure where subcutaneous fatty tissue is taken away.
There are different degrees of ptosis (drooping) deformity. Brachioplasty arm reduction surgery can remove the excess tissue and reduce the circumference of the upper arm. Surgical correction depends on the amount of extra skin and how loose the supporting tissues have become. Extra skin is removed from incisions along the inner arm. The incision must be placed where the tissue can be best tightened.
The most common incision extends from the elbow to the axilla. This allows the excision to maximally address the redundant skin in the middle. Modification of the incision may be necessary to limit scar contracture in the axilla.
Surgical sculpture involves not just the superficial skin, but also the deeper attachments that have loosened. In cases of limited extra skin, the incision can be hidden in the axilla. This can resuspend tissues in some cases but is not a very good answer for extensive redundant skin. A combined excision can sometimes limit the length of the scar between the elbow and axilla. In cases where there is loose skin of the lateral chest, the incision can be extended to deal with the extra tissue there. Before surgery, markings help guide the excision. The actual incision may curve or zigzag to minimize scar contraction. Liposuction can be useful to contour the fat layer. A skinny rubber drain may be used after surgery to remove fluids.
After the surgery, the plastic surgeon applies a bandage that can be removed only after two weeks. And heavy efforts should be avoided during first four weeks after the arm lift.
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