Do you find yourself avoiding sleeveless tops and dresses due to sagging upper arm skin? Do you have excess upper arm skin following extreme weight loss? If so, you may be a prime candidate for an arm lift at the office of Christopher Tiner, M.D. in Pasadena, CA. Today, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions about this procedure, including what it entails and why it is often necessary.
What Is an Arm Lift?
An arm lift is a body contouring procedure designed to drastically improve the appearance of the upper arms. This procedure may take around two to three hours to complete, and you will remain comfortable throughout the entire procedure. Typically, general anesthesia is administered prior to the operation to keep you asleep and ensure your body stays numb. However, we can combine intravenous sedation with an injectable local anesthetic depending on your personal preference.
Once you are asleep and numb, we will make tiny incisions in the inner region of your upper arms. These incisions allow us to remove excess skin, a bit of excess fat, and tighten any loose skin you may have. Also, it allows the incisions to heal without being seen. Note, if you are concerned about a significant amount of excess fat, you will need liposuction in addition to your arm lift (brachioplasty).
Why Has the Appearance of My Upper Arms Changed?
While there are many reasons why your upper arms may have changed in appearance, age is one of the most common factors. As we age, our body ages with us, slowing its production of crucial proteins and fibers that once kept our skin tight, smooth, healthy, and youthful. This reduction in production rate starts around the age of 25.
However, by the time you reach your 40s or 50s, there is a good chance that these insufficient protein production rates have compounded to the point that you have sagging skin. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to tighten loose skin with a healthy diet alone.
Your lifestyle choices may also be responsible for your skin sagging to the point that you need an arm lift. For instance, people often find that they need skin-tightening procedures when they regularly consume alcohol, particularly when they are prone to exceeding the recommended guidelines. According to the AHA, women should drink no more than one unit of alcohol daily, and men should drink no more than two units of alcohol daily.
Also, there is a chance that you are experiencing extreme upper arm skin sagging because you did not protect your skin from the sun sufficiently. UV rays from both sunlight and tanning beds damage the collagen in your skin. Even worse, UV rays impede your body’s ability to produce more collagen, exacerbating the skin sagging.
It is also possible that you are experiencing sagging upper arm skin because you lost a great deal of weight very quickly. One of the essential supportive chemical compounds that your skin starts to produce at a reduced rate as you age is elastin.
Elastin is responsible for snapping your skin flush against your new contours when you lose weight. If you have weak elastin or an inadequate amount of elastin, your skin will sag and wrinkle. This problem may resolve itself over time, but there is also a chance that it won’t. Also, if a massive amount of weight is lost, it is very possible that there will be excess skin. Excess skin is impossible to eliminate without a lift.
How Should I Prepare for This Procedure?
Discuss Your Medical History
The first step you must take to prepare for your procedure is coming in for an initial brachioplasty consultation. During this initial consultation, we will discuss your medical history in great detail to verify that you are healthy enough to receive an aesthetic procedure. For instance, we need to know about any heart conditions or bleeding disorders you may have.
Besides knowing about any chronic medical conditions you may have, we also need to know about your current health. This includes any medical conditions you have suffered from recently. Also, you must advise us on all of the medications you have taken recently and are currently taking. Then, we will advise you on what other preparation steps are required pre-op.
Stop Taking Certain Medications
You will receive a complete list of preparation instructions during your initial consultation if we determine this procedure is a good fit for you. One of the most important things you must do to prepare for your operation is to stop taking certain drugs and supplements. Specifically, it is crucial that you do not take any pharmaceuticals that can thin your blood. You also must stop consuming alcohol and tobacco products for several days pre-op.
How Long Will My Recovery Take?
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect your recovery to take between two and four weeks depending on the scope of the procedure. If you are receiving liposuction in addition to brachioplasty, for instance, you should expect your recovery to take a little longer. Note, you can also expect your recovery period to take longer if you push yourself too hard before your body is ready to be pushed.
For instance, you may not lift over five pounds during the first week of your recovery. During the second week of your recovery, you may not lift over 10 pounds. It is not until the third week of your recovery that you may lift up to 15 pounds. If you lift objects that are too heavy, be it a gallon of milk or a small dog, your recovery will take longer.
Can I Speed Up My Recovery?
To help your recovery period end as quickly as possible, it is essential that you wear compression garments during the first 48 hours post-op, including while you sleep. Once two days have passed, it is advisable to wear other compression garments for up to 28 days. During your initial consultation, we will advise you on the strength of the prescription garments you need to wear during the first and second stages of your recovery.
Also, you can speed up your recovery by spending as much time as possible in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of the sleep cycle. This stage is by far the most important for healing. However, you should be aware that your skin also needs collagen to heal itself. To produce as much collagen as possible, eat plenty of protein.
Learn Today How You Can Get the Arms of Your Dreams
There is no guarantee that your skin will tighten on its own over time. There is no diet or exercise routine that can eliminate excess skin. You can’t even spot-reduce excess upper arm fat. However, with an arm lift, you can drastically improve the appearance of your upper arms in just a couple of hours.
To find out whether this procedure is right for you, contact us today at the office of Christopher Tiner, M.D. in Pasadena, CA to schedule your initial brachioplasty consultation. We can’t wait to help you sculpt the arms of your dreams so you can finally feel as self-confident as you deserve to feel.