I hate the scar that goes with the full arm lift but I also really hate my arms now. What treatment would you recommend? (photo)
Doctor Answers 8
Treatment Options for Loose Upper Arm Skin
It's not unusual for patients to develop redundant saggy upper arm tissue after a significant weight loss. When this situation arises, a variety of treatment options are available. The specific choice will depend upon the patient's aesthetic goals and anatomic findings.
Although your pictures are helpful, it's virtually impossible to make a specific recommendation without a physical examination. In the absence of an examination, your pictures suggest a significant amount of excess skin. This excess skin will almost certainly require a brachioplasty with an incision along the inner aspect of the arm. In some cases, an axillary incision will be necessary, as well.
It's important to realize that this type of procedure involves a series of trade-offs between excess saggy arm skin and additional scarring. For this reason, it's tempting for patients to opt for procedures that have less scarring. Under these circumstances, patients may be left with residual skin sag.
If you're considering this type of procedure, it's important to thoroughly discuss these issues with a board certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic findings and achieves your aesthetic goals.
I hate the scar that goes with the full arm lift but I also really hate my arms now. What treatment would you recommend?
Kenneth Hughes, MD
Los Angeles, CA............
Arm lift after weight loss
In my experience, most patients are glad that they chose the arm lift and do not mind the scars, as compared to the loose skin they had pre operatively.
However, this is a personal choice and I recommend that you continue to have this discussion with your plastic surgeon to decide what is best for your particular case.
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Expectations and Operations
Liposuction is limited downtime and limited, modest skin tightening, even with the laser (smartlipo) which is my preferred technique.
Adding a "T" scar to the underarm with liposuction provides good skin tightening to the upper arm and decreases the large contour. A drain is required along with the scar.
The full armlift gives the biggest result, but a drain and longer scar is required. I hide the scar on the inside of the arm, and it is hardly noticeable at all: only visible with arms raised overhead.
In patients who are concerned about scars, it is always "safe" to start with the laser assisted armlift (smartlipo to the arms) and observe the skin tightening that we can obtain. If there is further desire to get more tightening, we can always go back and perform the T or full armlift.
Armlift (brachioplasty) scar
Arm lift scar
It is a trade-off. You will need to decide if the scar makes the surgery worthwhile.
The key to a good result is having liposuction of the surgical area first and being sure that the incision is placed so it does not show from the front or the back -
and that skin is not pulled too tight. If you aren't sure you want the risk of a visible scar - then wait.