Are the scars visible after an arm lift?
Unfortunately, the scars are visible after an arm lift because the scar extends from the armpit to the elbow. The scar is placed along the inside surface of the arm so it is not noticeable when your arms are resting at your sides. Although the improvement can be dramatic in the right patient, I always counsel my patients that if they will not accept noticeable scars, they probably should not consider an arm lift.
What are the risks of an arm lift?
Complications resulting from an arm lift are very uncommon, but they do occasionally occur and must be considered before you have surgery. There are two categories of risks for an arm lift: the general risks associated with all surgical procedures and the risks that are specific to an arm lift.
The general risks include to the risks associated with a general anesthesia, bleeding, infection, and scar formation. The scars are longer and more noticeable in an arm lift than in some other cosmetic surgery procedures so you need to be sure that this is acceptable to you. Delays in healing may also occur because the closure has to be tight enough to get a good result. There may be some numbness of the upper arms or forearms if nerve branches are included in the skin removed. In rare instances, there may be compromise of the nerves, muscles or blood vessels because of compression due to excess swelling.
An arm lift is a safe and predictable cosmetic surgery procedure in the right patient, but because of the length of the scar, it should be reserved for patients whose excess skin and fat create a significant abnormality.
Can I have liposuction instead of an arm lift?
Liposuction can remove a lot of the excess fat in your arms, but the quality of the final result depends on the ability of your skin to shrink after the fat has been removed. This ability of skin shrinkage after liposuction depends on several factors, but one of the most important factors is the location on the body. Unfortunately, the skin of the arms rarely has the elasticity to shrink after liposuction and most patients will be left with loose, baggy arm skin. However, small amounts of reduction of the arms can be accomplished with liposuction alone.
Who is a candidate for an arm lift?
The best candidate for an arm lift is someone who has lost a large amount of weight and is left with loose, baggy skin. If you still have a large amount of excess fat in your arms, you can still have an arm lift, but extra fat will be present under the remaining skin and will limit the improvement.
Patients who have a large amount of excess skin and fat will get the best result with a two stage procedure: the arms are first treated with liposuction and after waiting a couple of months, the residual excess skin is removed.
If you would like to learn more about how an arm lift can help with the problem of loose, hanging skin, please contact Dr. Joseph J. Fata at Renaissance Plastic Surgery online or by calling our office in Indianapolis, Indiana at (317) 565-1009 today to schedule your initial consultation.