Francois J Duminy

PLASTIC & RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON

Upper Arm Reduction (Brachioplasty)

The Problem

Many patients experience increasing "flabiness" of the upper arms as they age.

The problem is exacerbated by weight loss

Besides the loss of tone in the skin and subcutaneous tissues, women especially, seem to have Triceps muscles that sag excessively when they are not flexed. i.e. poor Triceps tone.

Most of our patients describe the problem as: "My wings"

Solutions

In younger patients and/or those with good skin elasticity, the problem can be managed by special liposuction techniques that concentrate on enhancing skin shrinkage. This method will minimise scarring.

In older patients and/or those with weakened, crepe-like, inelastic skin, the only viable solution at present is to excise the excess skin so as to reduce the size of the skin envelope and thus "firm" the upper arm.

The skin excision is kept to the inner aspect of the upper arm and may extend from the axilla to the elbow depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed.

This, of course, will result in a long scar running down the inner aspect of the upper arm. The scar is managed by our usual Scar Care regimen. Patients are generally much happier with the scar than they were with the "wings".

When skin strength/elasticity is very poor, the operation may have to be repeated after a few years.

Possible Complications

1. Scars and scar contractures that may require release by z-plasty.

2. Wound dehiscence

3. Infection in the wound and the tissues of the arm

4. Bleeding, bruising, swelling in the early post-operative period.

5. Support garments in the form of elasticated sleaves may be required.