For many people, the upper arms are cause for concern. Excess fat can accumulate and gravity pulls the fat and skin down, causing the area to sag. Many patients who have lost a large amount of weight are left with excess underarm skin that is uncomfortable, embarrassing, and extremely difficult to tone up with exercise alone. Fortunately, cosmetic procedures make it possible to eliminate sagging upper arms.
There are three treatments available: surgical arm contouring, minimally invasive InMode BodyTite treatments, and a non-surgical approach known as CoolSculpting®.
Also known as Brachioplasty, arm contouring surgery is designed to remove any excess fat and skin from the upper arms in order to create a sculpted appearance.
Brachioplasty can be performed under general anesthetic, but many patients choose to avoid the potential complications and recovery associated with a general anesthetic. Instead, patients can opt for a combination of a local anesthetic and sedation which places them on the very edge of consciousness while the procedure is being performed.
Once you have received the necessary anesthetic, Dr. Faulkner will make an incision along the underside or back of your upper arm. The exact length and pattern of this will depend on the amount and position of the excess skin that is to be removed. Underlying supportive tissues are then tightened and reshaped, before the skin is pulled tight and secured with sutures.
If you have had general anesthetic, you may experience nausea, disorientation, and confusion following the procedure. You will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours after general anesthetic, so be sure to coordinate with someone to drive you home. Your arms will be wrapped in a compression garment which will help minimize swelling and keep your sutures in place. In some cases, a drain may be temporarily placed into your arm to drain any excess blood or fluid that might collect.
It is normal to experience slight discomfort, and while over-the-counter pain medications are usually enough to relieve the pain, you may be prescribed something stronger. Most patients need to take at least a week off from work, or longer if their job involves physical activity. It is crucial that you listen to and follow all post-procedure instructions given to you by Dr. Faulkner, as these will limit your risk of complications and help to ensure that you are happy with the final results of your arm contouring surgery.
CoolSculpting® is an FDA-approved, non-invasive alternative to Brachioplasty for the upper arms and is recommended when the patient is bothered by excess fat, rather than over-stretched skin. The procedure works by freezing the fat cells so that they die and leave the body through the usual elimination process. The CoolSculpting® machines deliver freezing temperatures directly to the fat cells, which are much more sensitive to temperature than skin cells. This enables the fat cells to be targeted and destroyed without causing any damage to other tissue, such as skin, blood vessels, and nerves.