Arm Lift Surgery in Columbus, OH
For many people, loose, flabby-looking arms are an inevitable part of getting older. Regardless of how common this issue is, it remains difficult to live with. Loose skin can cause chafing and irritation, hindering a person’s ability to exercise. It causes many people to cover up due to self-consciousness, too, which can make hot weather unbearable. For all of these reasons, some individuals benefit profoundly from arm lift surgery.
Understanding Age-Related Changes in Arm Composition
People frequently mistake sagging arms for a sign that they need to lose weight, but this is not always the case. If your BMI is within the normal range but you still struggle with “flabby looking” arms, genetics and aging are probably the root of the issue. Fat may play a role in this condition (women often have stores of fat on their upper arms and underarms), but dieting alone will not tone the arms. One would have to get down to a very low weight to shrink these natural subcutaneous fat deposits, and even then, loose skin would remain.
Flabby arms are usually the result of gradual changes that occur both within and beneath the skin. After age 30, the amount of lean muscle mass we carry gradually decreases. This makes the arms less toned-looking and creates excess skin. There’s no longer enough muscle mass to fill out the patient’s existing skin, so the extra skin droops. At the same time, the production of collagen—a compound that keeps the skin firm—slows down. This allows the force of gravity to stretch the skin. It also causes the connective tissues beneath the skin (i.e., the fibrous bands that keep the skin attached to the muscle below) to weaken.
Though exercise can partially fill in areas of loose skin by creating additional muscle mass, it cannot tone the skin itself. Loose skin therefore often requires surgical attention, particularly as patients get older and building muscle becomes more difficult.
While normal aging is the most common cause of flabby looking arms, it’s not the only one. People who have lost a significant amount of weight also frequently develop flaps of loose skin on their upper arms.
What is an Arm Lift?
Arm lift surgery, also known as brachioplasty, makes the upper arms much leaner and firmer. During arm lift surgery, an incision is made along the underarm, extending down towards the patient’s elbow. If the patient has excess fat under his or her arms, this fat can be removed with liposuction. Once this step is complete, Dr. Zochowski carefully removes the patient’s loose skin, creating a sleeker contour. The supportive tissues below the skin will also be tightened and repositioned. After the patient has healed, these tissues will be able to provide better support for the skin.
Schedule a Private Consultation
If you’re in the Columbus area and have any questions or wish to schedule a consultation with Dr. Christopher Zochowski, please contact our office today.
Brachioplasty: What to Expect
Arm lifts take about two hours to complete on average, and they can usually be performed on an outpatient basis (that is, you can go home after your surgery). However, if you would feel more comfortable staying in the hospital overnight, this can be arranged. In either case, you will need someone to drive you home from the hospital after this procedure. You should also arrange for a caregiver during the first week after your surgery as your upper mobility will be limited.
Arm lift surgery is generally safe and well-tolerated by most patients. Complications are rare, and while recovery requires some lifestyle adjustments, it’s not especially difficult. You will probably experience some swelling and soreness for one to two weeks after your operation, so you should book at least one week off of work. You will be given prescription pain medication in order to prevent pain flare-ups. You will also be outfitted with special compression garments that minimize swelling and provide support for more rapid healing.
During the first week after your surgery, you should avoid lifting even light objects. Do your best to stay in bed and keep your arms in a comfortable position. After the first week, you may be able to resume some light activities. However, you should wait at least one full month before you attempt to engage in vigorous activity or lift heavy objects. Dr. Zochowski will see you at regular intervals for three months after your operation in order to determine when you can safely resume your normal habits.
Who Makes a Good Arm Lift Candidate?
All surgical patients must be nonsmokers, so if you smoke, you will need to stop at least three weeks before your surgery. Smoking restricts the flow of oxygen in the blood, which inhibits the body’s ability to heal itself. Smokers are more prone to surgical complications like bleeding, delayed wound healing, and infection. Patients are also advised to avoid alcohol consumption for two weeks before and after having any invasive surgery.
Arm lift candidates also need to be free of health conditions that impair healing, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When you come in for a consultation, Dr. Zochowski will review your complete medical history, including any medications and supplements you are taking, in order to make sure you’re ready to safely have this procedure.
Before you have an arm lift, you’ll need to reach a healthy weight. Future weight loss will create additional loose skin, compromising the results of this surgery.
Schedule an Arm Lift Consultation in Columbus, Ohio
If loose, flabby-looking arms are causing you physical or emotional discomfort, arm lift surgery can help. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Zochowski has extensive experience performing a wide range of body contouring procedures, and he will be happy to help you develop a personalized treatment plan.
Taking the time to get to know each patient—including their goals, hopes, and unique personality—is an integral part of his surgical process. If you’re looking for exemplary care in Columbus, it starts with booking a consultation at Zochowski Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.