Brachioplasty is the medical terminology for the plastic surgical improvement of the upper arm contour. Many patients seeking reduction of their upper arms are concerned with the laxity of skin, excessive fat and loss of muscle mass. They feel that the upper arms are out of proportion to the rest of their body. Patients who have lost a great deal of weight or those who have had bariatric surgery (stomach stapling) often present with flappy upper arms due to the excess remaining skin.
A general classification of patients into three categories helps assist with the corresponding surgical treatment that would be best for the individual.
Group 1 an increase in fat volume but with adequate skin turgor and quality. A "pinch test" can assess the degree of fatty tissue to be removed. These patients are treated with only liposuction.
Group 2 have redundant fat and moderate skin laxity. This is common in the middle age woman who is at or just above her ideal weight. Such patients are treated with suction lipectomy and a small removal of a ridge of skin within the armpit termed mini-brachiplasty.
Group 3 evidence generalized obesity and excessive skin, or simply excessive skin. These patients, when at an ideally suitable body weight, require a traditional brachioplasty. This procedure entails a skin incision within the axilla or armpit, traversing in a zig-zag fashion towards the lower aspect of the upper arm. A brachioplasty garment is used afterwards and patients are advised against physical activities, which may strain the suture line.
Dr. Burt Greenberg will carefully review each candidate regarding the technique required and the expected post-operative result. Often, this procedure is nicely coupled with another skin/fat removal procedure such as abdominoplasty or breast lift.