Posted in: Brachioplasty | December 21, 2010 | Comments Off
Does your upper arm keep swinging after you wave goodbye? Most women who have gained or lost a significant amount of weight have this problem. However, even fit women have upper arm fat that just won’t go away – myself included!
Don’t worry about having to deal with all this arm flapping forever. For mild cases in otherwise fit patients with good skin – upper arm liposuction should allow for a nice contour. This month, I’ve been doing many of these procedures for several of my young patients who work out and are in great shape but just need help with that last little area of upper arm fat.
However, for patients who have a lot of excess skin, they often need an arm lift or brachioplasty. This is about a 3-4-hour procedure that I perform at my outpatient surgery center. You will be under general anesthesia but you will get to go home the same day.
For either procedure, you can usually go back to work in a few days and exercise may be resumed just after a few weeks. Bruising is rare but there is swelling as with any liposuction procedure. For best results, you will need to wear compression garments preferably for about 6 weeks.
The main downside to brachioplasty is a long scar. It will extend from the armpit to the elbow, along the inside of your arm. In general, those with very loose skin find this exchange worthwhile. Those with only a small amount of sagging will sometimes be able to get away with a smaller scar in the armpit. If you are not willing to accept scarring, you should not have this operation. However, most patients are happy to trade their excess arm skin and fat for a scar.
Overall, patients are very happy with this procedure. Most women feel more confident wearing short sleeves and are less self conscious with everyday activity. As with all procedures, make sure to spend time discussing with your surgeon realistic expectations and making sure all your questions are answered prior to undergoing this procedure.
Dr. Cat Begovic M.D.
Before performing any procedure, minor or major, my number one priority is the patient’s safety. An important part of the process is a pre-op medical clearance.
I make sure an internist checks each patient’s complete medical history and physical condition. I do this to make sure that he or she is healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia. I also personally communicate with his or her doctor to discuss the patient’s medications, what kind of surgery is to be done, and how long he or she will be under anesthesia. Based on this information, the patient’s internist can determine the safety of under going surgery, and wecome up with a plan together for any medical issues that may arise. I believe good communication is essential for the patient’s safety. I also personally review the pre-op history and physical exam results with my anesthesiologist to make sure that he/she is 100% comfortable and well prepared. I consider the three of us a team and this pre-surgery safety check helps ensure that the patient will have a safe and positive experience.
Sometimes patients feel that it is inconvenient to go through all the tests and lab work, but without proper pre-operative evaluations, there can be serious consequences. There was a bill signed in 2009, the Donda West Law that mandated all patients undergoing elective cosmetic surgery have a medical history, physical exam and signed clearance from all doctors concerned before the procedure. This bill was created after the passing of Dr. Donda West, the entertainer Kanye West’s mother, who underwent surgery without proper clearance and died. The bill has since then been vetoed, but that doesn’t take away the importance of medical clearance.
This is just the first step in the process to having a safe and positive plastic surgery experience!
Dr. Catherine Huang Begovic
Just last week, at least 4 or 5 of my girlfriends who have breast implants asked me this question. I’m not sure how this idea started, but most women think that their breast implants need to be changed routinely. This is not the case – really, implants only need to be removed and replaced if there is a problem. In most cases, the problem involves implant leaks or scar tissue forming around the implant, known as “capsular contracture”. This scar tissue makes the breast feel firm, distorted, or uncomfortable. In the surgery, the scar tissue, or capsule, will also be removed.
Leaks are another reason to replace implants. If a woman has saline implants, it will be obvious if there is a leak. The implant slowly deflates as the saline solution leaks out. If a woman has silicone implants, it is sometimes difficult to detect a leak. This is why the FDA recommends screening for silicone leaks 3 years after implant placement and then every 2 years. Sometimes there are symptoms such as hard lumps, distortion of the breast or implant, swelling, burning, or hardening of the breast. If that happens, the implant should be removed.
Before getting a breast augmentation surgery, ask your doctor about the pros and cons of the procedure. Women who are considering implants should know that they are committing themselves to multiple surgeries over their lifetime. The good news is that if an implant needs to be replaced, the manufactures currently provide new implants for free and often cover part of the surgery fees as well.
Dr. Cat Begovic