Brachioplasty / Thigh Lift

Substantial weight loss, due to either extreme dieting or bariatric surgery, can have unpleasing aesthetic ramifications. In many cases, the remaining skin after extreme weight loss is overly excessive and devoid of its natural stretching properties. This leads to a situation where the skin “hangs” off of the body, much like the appearance of an apron. The skin and its underlying tissue become more rigid with successive weight gain and loss and eventually fail to exhibit the elastic properties it once did. The quality of skin in this kind of setting is poor, and stretch marks and skin “sagging” appear. The excess remaining skin is likely to cause discomfort on a daily basis.
Various body-contouring procedures are available to overcome such outcomes. Among the most common surgeries performed are abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and mastopexy (breast lift- with or without augmentation). In addition to the areas mentioned, excess skin may be found in the arm, back, and thigh regions.

Arm and thigh lift (tightening) provides for a solution to excess skin in those respective regions. Despite acceptable hesitation regarding the potential scarring from such procedures, the effectiveness of such surgery is dramatic.

Furthermore, the rate of success from arm and thigh lift surgery is high, and the results are permanent so long as the weight is kept in check.

Arms and Thighs Stretching

In mild cases of excess skin or fat in the arm and thigh regions, simple liposuction can be performed. However, in some cases it is necessary to have excess skin removed and the remaining skin margins stretched closed—a surgical procedure that DOES leave local scarring.

Such surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Usually, the patient remains in the hospital overnight for supervision.

It is necessary to stop taking any blood thinners and avoid smoking at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. It is important to come to surgery after having normalized any outstanding blood pressures and glucose values. The surgery CANNOT be performed on those who are extremely overweight, in large part due to large respiratory risks involved, potential for deep vein thrombosis in the lower limbs, opening of the surgical wound, and slow healing.

Low blood protein levels (albumin) and anemia can negatively impact recovery and healing of the surgical wound. Therefore, it is necessary for one to arrive nutritionally balanced and healthy to surgery.

Arm and thigh tightening surgery is suitable for anyone who seeks to rid themselves of excess skin and fat in these respective areas, given they are not dangerously overweight and are above the age of 18. If you are a woman who still plans to bear children, note that the results of surgery may change after pregnancy. Any weight difference of 5 Kg or more can alter the results of surgery.

During the pre-surgical consultation, the patient is given a physical examination that includes height, weight, and assessment of the area to be contoured.

During surgery, local liposuction is performed if the necessity arises.

Thigh tightening surgery is commonly performed in the inner thigh region. If possible, the remaining surgical scar is hidden within the groin region. In cases of substantial amounts of excess skin removal, it may be necessary to leave a scar along the length of the inner thigh.

In cases where only mild external thigh contouring is necessary, the location of remaining scar is variable.

The surgical wounds are closed and held together with absorbable sutures.

With completion of surgery, the patient is to wear a specialized body suit (also used when liposuction is performed) for 30 days. This special garment helps to minimize fluid collection and formation of local edema.

The initial healing period is accompanied by pain that may limit movement of the thighs, bruising, swelling and edema, and alteration in local sensation of the skin. Complete healing of the surgical wounds may take several weeks.

Arms and Thighs Stretching

It is highly recommended to avoid physical exertion for approximately 2 weeks after surgery. However, extended periods of bed rest should also be avoided.

Final results are seen only after several months, once all swelling and local edema have subsided.

Arm lift (tightening), or brachioplasty, is performed under general anesthesia as well. In this procedure, liposuction is carried out based on necessity at the time of surgery, and excess skin is removed. The goal is to complete the surgery with minimal scarring. In cases of substantial excess skin removal, the remaining scar extends along the inner surface of the arm, from the elbow to the armpit. Maximal removal or skin hanging from the arms (or “wings) necessitates addressing the whole length of the arm (from elbow to armpit). After removal of all excess skin, the remaining skin margins are approximated and held together via absorbable sutures. The area is dressed with an elastic bandage or with specialized body-tight clothing. The external elastic dressing or clothes should remain in place for approximately 3 weeks.

The initial healing period may be accompanied by pain, local swelling and edema, bruising, and changes in skin sensation. It is recommended to avoid physical exertion for approximately 2 weeks after surgery.

Final results from arm lift surgery become apparent only after several months of recovery. In any case, remaining scars may be become hypertrophic (or keloidic)
due to local tension on the approximated skin margins.

Complications from this surgery are rare, and may include:

  1. Bleeding that may necessitate drainage in the OR setting
  2. Seroma formation (also necessitating drainage)
  3. infection
  4. Asymmetry
  5. Deep vein thrombosis in the lower limbs and possible pulmonary embolus (very rare complication). After surgery the patient is given specialized “pneumatic” stockings to help maintain adequate blood flow in the legs
  6. Opening of sutures along the wound (dehiscence)
  7. Necessity for additional surgery

For further information regarding these procedures, please schedule a pre-surgical consultation with Dr. Inbar.

»To view pictures “before after” Brachioplasty / Thigh Lift surgery»