Armlift Surgery (brachioplasty)

What is Armlift Surgery (Brachiaplasty)?

Armlift surgery (brachioplasty) is a surgical treatment to remove excess skin and fat from the upper arms. This surgery can help those who have been left with excess skin following weight loss through diet and exercise, or following successful weight loss surgery. Surgery is not a weight loss treatment. If you plan to do lose more weight, then it is advisable to do so before having a Brachiaplasty. The results of Brachiaplasty can be long lasting, providing you maintain a healthy weight.

What does armlift surgery involve?

Armlift surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and you may need to stay in hospital one to two nights.  You will also need to plan time off work so that you can relax and recover at home.

Your surgeon will make appropriate incisions on the inner under surfaces of your arm between your elbow and armpit. Excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining skin is stretched and stitched back together.  There will be some visible scarring and your consultant surgeon will discuss this with you before your operation.

Armlift surgery recovery time

You will be taken from the operating theatre into the Recovery Suite where you will be looked after until you are fully awake following the anaesthetic. After this, you will return to your room, where nursing staff will check your dressings and monitor your pulse and blood pressure at regular intervals.

The anaesthetist will prescribe painkillers and you should take these regularly for the first few days. Pain can slow down your recovery, so please discuss any discomfort with nursing staff.

You may have drainage tubes in your arms that are in place to drain away any excess fluid. These are removed before you are discharged home.

There may be a drip in one of your arms - this is to keep you well hydrated. This will be removed when you are able to drink a satisfactory amount. You will have wound dressings and a supportive compression garment in place. Your surgeon will advise you as to how long you will be required to wear your supportive compression garment and whether it is to be worn day and night.

You will be visited by the Cosmetic Surgery Specialist Nurse before you are discharged home. They will give you advice about caring for your wounds and dressings. You will receive a post-operative telephone call from the Cosmetic Surgery Specialist Nurse 1 - 2 days after your discharge home to ascertain your progress and well being. At your post-operative follow-up appointment your surgeon will assess your progress and give advice on when you can resume your normal activities.

What risks should I know about?

After a brachioplasty you are likely to have some discomfort, swelling, bruising, and pain in your arms. These are temporary and should subside after the first few weeks. You will be left with visible scars following your surgery. Initially, they will be red and slightly raised, but they should gradually soften and fade over the following months.

Any major operation with a general anaesthetic carries a small risk of infection and there is also a small risk of thrombosis in the veins of the leg.

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