Whether you have worked super hard to lose a significant amount of weight or you’ve had multiple pregnancies leaving you with excess skin and fat all around your body, an arm lift is the perfect procedure to combine with any body contouring procedure.
The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you’ll have to decide if the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks and potential complications of surgery.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your surgeon.
An arm lift is performed under a general anesthetic. During the procedure, an incision from the underarm area is made along the inside or back of the upper arm. Additional incisions may be made on the arms depending on where any other sagging pockets of skin are found. Dissolvable stitches will be used along the surgical incision. Surgical dressings will be applied and a compression garment will be used on top. Depending on your surgeon, you may be fitted for the garment a week after surgery rather than going home with a garment the same day.
Following general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, it will take 24 to 36 hours for the full effects of the drugs to wear off. You must be accompanied by a responsible adult, who may either drive you home or take a taxi with you. You may feel a little sleepy or nauseous when you get home, you should quietly rest at home for the remainder of the day.
Remove all surgical dressings 48 hours after surgery, leave only the pink paper tape over the surgical incisions. At this time you can shower, but do not directly apply water pressure over any of the pink tape, only let the water run over it and pat gently to dry. Please do not bathe or soak your incisions until all incisions have completely healed. The pink tape is waterproof and will start to peel off over the next 4 weeks, please cut off the portions that are no longer adhering to prevent the rest of the tape from falling off. It is essential to continue wearing the provided compression garment for 3 months for prevention of fluid buildup (even at night if comfortable). Additional garments are available for purchase through the clinic.
Patients are able to get up and walk around right after surgery, however, most patients find it quite difficult to use their arms for the first week, especially for tasks like getting up and out of bed and sitting down into a chair where you would use your arms for support. Most patients are able to walk on a treadmill in about a month, and play tennis in about three months. Most patients who have sedentary jobs take about two weeks off work. If your job involves a lot of physical activity be sure to speak with your surgeon during your consultation with regards to how much time off you will need for your specific daily tasks. There should be no heavy lifting for 6 weeks following surgery. Most patients are comfortable driving in about two week's time. However, it is not uncommon for a spot along your surgical incision to open up during the post-operative stages due to increased tension on the incisions with movement. This is not a serious complication, and can be remedied with daily dressings, but it does mean a delay in your expected recovery time.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give us a call at (403) 800-9157 and leave a message as necessary. If you are unable to reach us, and need medical advice please call 811 to speak to a nurse, the line is free of charge and available 24 hours a day. If it is a medical emergency please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital, or call the Peter Lougheed Centre Switchboard at (403) 943-4555 and ask to speak to the plastic surgeon on-call.
It is important to know that while technically the results of an arm lift are permanent, any significant fluctuations in weight can greatly diminish the results. It is recommended that individuals who are planning to lose weight or women considering pregnancy postpone the procedure. An arm lift procedure will also not be able to correct stretch marks, but some may be excised if they are along the surgical incision. It is possible that tattoos may have to be removed during the excision to allow for a better result. A good candidate for surgery is a patient who is relatively healthy, has reached their weight loss goals and has realistic expectations for post-operative outcomes. This procedure is not a replacement for a weight loss or exercise regime.
Arm lifts are not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, arm lift techniques along with liposuction may be recommended. Diet and exercise programs may also be beneficial for reducing excess body fat and improving body contour.
It is also strongly advised that you be a non-smoker at the time of surgery. If you are a smoker we recommend you quit smoking at least 3 months prior to surgery as nicotine can interfere with blood supply and potentially cause complications with healing after surgery.