Is being 67 a deal breaker? (photo)

I am 67 with Diabetes Type 2 under control with medication and have lost 80 pounds in the last year. I would like to loose another 50 to 60 pounds. As I am already getting loose skin, I am planning on needing some (or a lot) of surgical assistance. I would like to have my arms done first as this really bothers me. Would my age or medical condition prevent me from being a candidate for surgery or there alternative non-surgical procedures which might work also? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 10

Too old for surgery?

Your age is not the limiting factor.  Your medical condition is the more important factor.  Your diabetes should be in good control and all other medical conditions need to be controlled.  While you can have surgery, the risks of infection and wound healing problems are increased compared with those who don't have these issues.  So you may want to think about how you will feel if you develop one of these problems and require prolonged care or additional surgery.  Good luck on losing weight.  That is the key factor in helping you get to surgery. 


Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Am I candidate for a brachioplasty?

As long as your diabetes is in control and you are otherwise in good health your age will not be a contraindication to performing a brachioplasty.

Brachioplasty or arm lift surgery is one of the most frequently requested body contouring procedures performed today. The demand for this procedure has increased more than 800% since 1997. This is the greatest percent change of any of the commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures Much of the increase in popularity is due to the growing number of patients who undergo massive weight loss. In performing this procedure an incision is made on the inside of the arm extending from the elbow into the armpit. Sometimes it is necessary to extend the incision further into the armpit and sometimes past it. Utilizing this incision excess skin is removed and the wound is closed. It is very important to position the scar properly so that it is concealed as much as possible. A well-placed incision should result in a scar that is only visible when the arms are raised. This operation is normally performed as an outpatient. It is very important for the surgeon to discuss the resultant scar thoroughly with the patient preoperatively. Very commonly this scar takes longer to undergo full healing and maturation than incisions on other parts of the body. Maturation refers to the process whereby the scar becomes less apparent. Brachioplasty scars commonly take up to 2 years to fully mature. Immediately after the operation compressive Ace wraps are placed from the fingers up to the armpit. These can normally be removed within 24-48 hours postoperatively and replaced by elastic compression sleeves commonly worn by athletes. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively at any sporting good store. Most patients wear these for up for up to 4 weeks postoperatively. No vigorous activity or strenuous activity is recommended for 3 weeks postoperatively. Complications following a well planned and well executed brachioplasty are uncommon. They may include however wound infection or wound breakdown. Is very important to follow the directions of your surgeon postoperatively to ensure the best result. Good luck

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Neither age nor DM will be a road block.

Your weight loss is excellent and I would recommend you continue on that path to get as close to your target weight as possible.  Once at your target weight, see a board certified plastic surgeon for a detailed consultation about how best to treat your arms.  Your age and DM should not prevent you from having corrective arm surgery as long as you get medical clearance from your primary care doctor.  People with DM and in their 60's and 70's have surgery of all types so it is just a matter of coordinating your care for your safety.  With the amount of excess skin from your photo, I know of no non surgical procedure which can reliably improve your arm contour.  A brachioplasty will improve your arm contour with a recovery of 7-10 days.

Age

Age is not a deal breaker provided you are medically cleared- we have an internist in our practice who clears all of our surgical patients.

As far as arms, you may be a candidate for Vaser ultrasound liposuction +/- smart lipo to tighten the skin without an arm lift.

An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon who performs these procedures is recommended to confirm you are a candidate as well as discuss your options and expectations.

Age and arm lifting?

Thank you for the question and congratulations on your successful weight loss. You are wise in achieving your long-term stable weight prior to proceeding with arm lifting surgery.  Doing so will help improve safety parameters of the procedure and likely achieve an aesthetic outcome that you will be happier with.


Your age and/or well-controlled diabetes are absolutely not  contraindications to arm lifting surgery; assuming you are in good health and a good candidate for the procedure you may have an excellent outcome with the procedure.   Careful selection of plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, and surgery facility of course will be important.


 In my practice, I would ask that you obtain "medical clearance" from your family practitioner or internist who knows you best.


 Best wishes as you work toward your goals and for an arm lifting  procedure outcome that you will be very pleased with.  Hopefully, your only regret will be not having had it done earlier in life. You may find the attached link, dedicated to arm lifting surgery concerns, helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes.

Is being 67 a deal breaker?

If you are in good general medical health, your age will not prevent you from having surgery.

I think that arm lift surgery would likely be of benefit, but clearer pictures or an exam would be helpful to make recommendations.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Deal breaker?

I don't believe your age is a "deal breaker" and as long as your diabetes continues to be well controlled then I believe you can safely have an arm lift. I also want to wish you the best on you continuing saga to achieve your goal weight. When you start getting closer to your goal weight you should consider consulting with several board certified plastic surgeons in your area. I really like the posterior incision for weight loss patients because the operation is more effective at removing excess skin and generally leads to a better scar. Best wishes, Dr. ALDO :)

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

Arm Lift Complications

The Arm Lift or Brachioplasty is a great procedure to address your arms. The following things must be considered. (1) Arm lifts are associated with delayed healing problems and poor scarring, (2) You must be at your final weight prior to undergoing this procedure. As you continue to lose weight you will likely see an improvement in your overall health making you an even better candidate for this procedure. In our practice we do not exclude anyone based on age or other health problems but look at the patient on a whole in terms of their ability to tolerate anesthesia and their ability to tolerate little areas of delayed healing and poor scarring. If you have reasonable expectations of what the arm lift can perform then you should seek consultation. Good luck!

Anthony J. Wilson, MD
Portsmouth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Healthy enough for brachioplasty?

As long as your diabetes is well under control and you are cleared by your primary care physician to undergo surgery, your age should not be a factor. You should go into surgery knowing that there are several factors that would predispose you to delayed wound healing or wound healing problems. including diabetes, age, overall health, and your history of massive weight loss (and thus less predictable blood circulation to the skin). Surgery would be the most effective way to eliminate excess arm skin because there are not many non-surgical modalities that could shrink the skin as effectively. 

Tracy Kayan, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Age and surgery

In short, being 67 is not a deal breaker.  I have performed body contouring procedures on patients in their 80s, but the important thing was not their age, is was their health.   A healthy 67 year old can be a better candidate for surgery than an unhealthy 50 year old.  You need to make sure for diabetes is optimized with good and stable HgA1C levels.   You also want you weight to be stable for 3-6 months after surgery.  With these things in place and clearance from your PCP or endocrinologist, you may be a candidate for surgery.   Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon who will also review the risks and possible complications for someone in your situation.

Samir S. Rao, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.