What are the scars like from a brachioplasty?
What are the scars like from a brachioplasty?
There are many people who have concerns about loose, sagging skin on the upper arms. This is very common after achieving massive weight loss, but can also happen as a result of the aging process. Unfortunately, there are no exercises, creams, or supplements that will tighten the excess skin and get rid of those hanging folds. The only way to remove them and obtain a smoother upper arm appearance is through a surgical procedure known as brachioplasty, or an upper arm lift.
As with all plastic surgery, the tradeoff for the improved appearance is that you will have a scar afterward. What are the scars like after an upper arm lift? Are they discreet?
There are various types of brachioplasty
First, it’s important to know that there are a few different types of brachioplasty. Which one is right for you depends on the specific concerns you have about the appearance of your arms. The scars from each procedure will be a bit different.
Traditional brachioplasty scars
For the most common form of brachioplasty surgery, the scar is made along the length of the upper arm. The scar location is in the interbrachial groove, which is the groove along the inner arm between the biceps and triceps muscles. In this position, the scar will be well hidden next to the body when the arm is down, although it will become more visible when the arm is raised up.
Some patients prefer to have the scar placed more posteriorly (on the part of the arm that’s facing toward the back, when the arm is by your side). In this position, it will not be as obvious to people standing in front of you, but will be more obvious from the back. Dr. Miles will discuss the specific scar placement that he recommends when he meets you at your consultation appointment.
Extended brachioplasty scars
For those who also have excess skin on the trunk of the body (the upper back and chest), an extended brachioplasty may be useful. This extends the incision into the axilla (the armpit) to allow the removal of the extra skin. Although the scar is longer, the extra length is mostly hidden in the armpit, and some patients get a better cosmetic result from the additional skin tightening.
Limited-incision brachioplasty scars
For those whose excess skin is primarily located near the trunk of the body, a limited-incision brachioplasty may produce the results you’re looking for. This places the incision in the armpit, without an incision along the length of the arm. For our patients who have undergone massive weight loss, this will not usually be enough to achieve the results that you’re looking for. It cannot remove the “bat wing” of excess tissue that many weight loss patients unfortunately find themselves left with. However, for those whose upper arm concerns are due to the aging process, this can be enough for some people to achieve the sleeker look they desire.
Liposuction may work well for some
For people who have deposits of excess fat tissue in the upper arms, but who have good skin tone and aren’t bothered by excess hanging skin, liposuction of the upper arms may be enough to get them the results that they desire. However, it’s very important to recognize that liposuction will not address any excess skin at all. It will only remove fat tissue. If the skin doesn’t have enough elasticity to “bounce back” after the removal of the extra fat, then the result will likely be unsatisfying.
For patients who are at a healthy weight (within about 25 pounds of their ideal weight), but who have stubborn fat tissue on the upper arms along with sagging skin, liposuction can be used along with brachioplasty to achieve the desired results.
The appearance of scars depends on the healing process
How your scars ultimately look depends on more than just the scar placement. The quality of your cosmetic result also depends on how your scars heal. If too much tension is placed on the incision while it’s healing, the resulting scar will be wider and more obvious. This is why it’s important to choose a highly qualified surgeon with experience in performing this procedure; excellent surgical technique is required to get a good result.
Taking care of your incisions as they heal is also extremely important. Scars that have healed well will generally be inconspicuous after the healing process. Make sure that you follow your postoperative care instructions, to help get the best possible results. Dr. Miles also recommends his patients use Silagen Scar Therapy for three months following surgery to minimize the appearance of scars. Silagen is sold in physician offices only and can be purchased in Dr. Miles office.
If you’re unsatisfied with the appearance of your upper arms, then you may want to consider brachioplasty. Although the procedure does produce a scar on the arm, this may be a worthwhile tradeoff for tightening the arm and removing the “bat wing” of extra skin. Patients who have undergone massive weight loss often have brachioplasty as part of a larger body lift procedure, which may be performed all at once or staged into multiple separate procedures.
If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to learn more about brachioplasty, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Miles. He will be happy to discuss your options and make personalized recommendations. Please contact our office to book your appointment.