Brachioplasty, or upper arm lift surgery, typically involves an incision that stretches from the elbow up to the underarm, sometimes even extending to the chest area for massive weight loss (MWL) patients who need the most correction. Aside from eliminating the “bat wing” appearance, a good result should also appear natural and smooth.
However, a technique called brachioplasty minimal incision is more suitable for patients who need less correction, or to be exact, those with little loose and redundant skin.
This minimally invasive approach results in a shorter scar, usually just within the armpit area, allowing the patient to wear sleeveless tops without having to worry about the visible scars. Nevertheless, it should not be attempted on someone who needs more correction due to risk of poor contour, skin asymmetries, and (ironically) unfavorable scarring.
While brachioplasty with minimal incision can provide an impressive outcome for the right candidates, it is occasionally performed in conjunction with liposuction in which the excess fat is removed through a stainless steel tube called cannula.
The adjunct procedure does not result in visible scars because it uses a few incisions that are less than ¾ of an inch, which further shrink and fade as the patient moves forward to her recovery.
But to achieve good results from liposuction as a concomitant procedure of upper arm lift surgery, the entire circumference or at least 75 percent of it should be treated. The idea is to create a smooth transition between the upper and lower arm through judicious fat removal.
However, it remains imperative to leave some fat layer to preserve the natural appearance of the upper arms and avoid the overly muscular look; this is particularly important among female patients who need to maintain the femininity and “smoothness” of their arms.
Regardless of the incision pattern, it is important to close the wound in several layers in an attempt to remove or at least minimize the tension on the wound, thus preventing it from becoming thick, wide, and raised. Proper suturing techniques also prevent wound breakdown and poor healing.
To further promote “favorable” scarring, it is not uncommon among plastic surgeons to recommend steri-strips and/or silicone tapes, which hold the wound in place and provide a gentle compression to inhibit keloid or hypertrophic scar formation.
Meanwhile, the average arm lift cost is $4,000-$5,000, although minimally invasive techniques are slightly less expensive than a full or standard method.