Always Look Your Best
Are you tired of looking at those flabby arms? Do you wish you had the supple and firm skin that would make people compare you to Charlize Theron or Angelina Jolie? If you do, then you’ve come to the right place!
People who have undergone dramatic weight loss or a gastric bypass, will often observe the skin on their upper arms sags loosely to give the arms a flaccid appearance. Of course, this sagging can also happen with aging. The surgical procedure used as a treatment for this condition is known as an upper arm lift. An upper arm lift, technically known as a brachioplasty, is used to shape the skin beneath the upper arm to create it a healthy and tightened appearance.
Do I Need an Arm Lift?
Although few people actually ‘need’ to get an arm lift, most people who exhibit classic skin laxity may want to get one. It all eventually comes down to your personal preference and how you perceive yourself.
If you live in the South West of the United States, and you have decided that an El Paso arm lift is the procedure you want, then board certified, award winning Dr. Frank Agullo of Southwest Plastic Surgery, is the person who can make it happen. When it comes to plastic surgery, he possesses expertise in El Paso, Texas, and you will be pleased to learn that he was trained at the prestigious and highly competitive Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery.
According to the doctor, typical candidates for an arm lift usually fall into one or more of the following categories:
- They exhibit laxity in their upper arms which could be due to old age, in which case the loose skin can be quite bothersome for some people.
- They have excess fatty tissue in the upper arms, that with time seems to hang lower and lower. They often see these features in family members.
- They have undergone weight loss, which may be due to a gastric bypass and has left an excess of skin and fat on their upper arms, giving them a characteristic ‘bat-wing’ appearance.
- They are generally healthy, non-smoking individuals with no serious medical conditions who just want to look better.
Current statistics by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recorded an astonishing 22,969 arm lift surgeries in 2012! Fifteen years ago, in 1997, the same figure was 2,516. Furthermore, almost all procedures were performed on females. What do you say, ladies? Has your interest been piqued, yet?
Surgical Procedure (Arm Lift or Brachioplasty)
At Southwest Plastic Surgery, Dr Agullo offers full consultations on the procedure and will explain everything you need to know about getting an arm lift. You can ask any questions you may have and due to the geographics of the region, Southwest Surgery Plastic understands that not all patients would be comfortable communicating in English. That is why Dr. Agullo speaks Spanish and English fluently.
You will be told how to prepare for the surgery, what the actual procedure entails, what the recovery period is like and what the possible risks associated with such a procedure are. Rest assured, however, with Southwest Plastic Surgery, you will be in more than capable hands. In preparation for the surgery we will determine whether it is recommended that you consult your primary physician for preoperative evaluation.
You should also inform the doctor prior to the surgery of any drugs and medication you might be taking such as vitamins, herbal medicine and anti-inflammatory drugs, which make post surgery healing difficult, and discontinue their use. If you smoke, then you will have to stop before undergoing surgery. Once you are satisfied that you meet the criteria for a good candidate for an arm lift, you will be given a date on which the surgery is scheduled.
Dr. Agullo has special interests in body contouring, breast enhancement and facial rejuvenation. He has published many internationally acclaimed papers and presentations in this area, and has also received several awards from his peers for the quality of his work, as well as the individualized care he provides patients.
Based on his general assessment, you may have to undergo either a liposuction, removal of extra skin or removal of tissue, or a combination of liposuction of the arms and removal of the excess sagging skin. These are arranged according to the severity of your condition.
The procedure and remaining scar will be described to you during the initial consultation. Just before the procedure, the location, length and direction of the incisions will be marked on your arms, elbows and armpits. After that you will either be given intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, again based on the judgement of the surgeon. There are four types of incisive procedures, one of which you will undergo:
- Mini arm lift – If you have a minimal amount of excess skin, good skin quality and no fatty tissue, then a small incision will be made at the axillary fold. Liposuction may also be used in this case, which leaves very small scars.
- Short arm lift – If you have a mild amount of excess skin and tissue, then a T-shaped scar will be left. A transverse incision will be at the axillary fold, and a longitudinal incision from the axilla to the mid-arm.
- Standard arm lift – This is the most widespread arm lift procedure and treats moderate to excessive skin or fatty tissue on the upper arm. The scar extends from the axilla to the elbow.
- Extended arm lift – This is for the most severe cases, where the accumulation of skin or fatty tissue is excessive, such as is typically seen in patients who have had a gastric bypass. In this case, the scar extends from the elbow to the lateral chest.
After that, the incisions will be brought together to give the arm a more taught, supple and smoother appearance. The full procedure takes nearly 2 hours. Absorbable sutures will be used on the incision in such a way as to minimize scarring, and a sterile dressing will be placed.
There are certain risks associated with such a procedure and it is important for you to be aware of them before considering to get an arm lift. Your surgeon will ask you to sign consent forms on which you will verify that you understand the complications which may occur in the procedure, and that they may lead to one or more of the following:
- Swelling around the incision area
- Unfavorable scarring
- Slow healing
- Fluid accumulation
- The need for a revised surgery
- Blood clots
- Damage to blood vessels and nerves
- Decaying of deep fat tissue
- Skin discoloration
- Prolonged pain
- General risks associated with anesthesia
Needless to say, most patients do not experience these symptoms, as Dr. Agullo takes the utmost care to ensure that all procedures are performed with the highest standards of safety.
Post Surgery Recovery
The Southwest Plastic Surgery doctor says that the scars will take almost a year to completely heal, but the results are almost immediately visible after the surgery. As long as your weight does not drastically drop, no excessive skin will accumulate and your arms will maintain their healthy look for years. Upper arm skin may tend to loosen again due to aging, but you will not see the pre-surgery laxity. You can go home the same day and you will be given a compression garment, antibiotics to avoid the risk of any infection, and pain medication.
The general recovery period is one to three weeks, but swelling and bruising will persist even with the compression garment, for up to four weeks. At home, you are encouraged to use pillows to keep your arm elevated above your heart to reduce swelling.
Eating appropriately is also very important at this point. It is recommended that you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and foods rich in lean protein, but low in sodium. This is because sodium increases swelling. You may also experience slight pain, swelling and tingling in the hands and arms, but this will subside over time. If however, any of these conditions persist or become more severe, then it is advisable to immediately consult a doctor and consider further treatment.
The surgeon at Southwest Plastic Surgery is always willing to help his patients, especially during the recovery phase, and so Southwest Plastic Surgery serves a wide area of the American South West. It serves cities in West Texas including Amarillo, Horizon City, Midland and Odessa. In the state of New Mexico, the cities include, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Silver City and Ruidoso. As a completely bilingual practice, it also caters to the cities of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez in Northern Mexico.
Cost of Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
The technique used by the surgeon will vary depending on the extent to which the excess skin and fatty tissue is spread and is causing laxity. This will determine the price, but generally, the arm lift will cost you between $6,000 – $9,000. Some people choose to have other procedures combined with their arm lift such as liposuction, mastopexy, and lower body lift, which may increase the total cost.