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Arm reduction surgery, also known as brachioplasty or arm lift, can fix any issues with ‘bat wings’, ‘arm flaps’ or other excess skin and fatty deposit issues that affect the area. While there are no known health impacts associated with these flaps, people who suffer from them generally experience feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment, and often prefer to avoid short sleeves entirely.
If you’re in this situation, it’s important to remember three things.
- You’re not alone. It’s a far more common problem than most people realise and you should try not to let it affect you. Unfortunately, this is obviously easier said than done. Most sufferers report a loss of self-confidence, so don’t panic if that sounds like you – it’s a very normal side effect.
- There’s no single clear cause, and you probably couldn’t have avoided it. Experiencing rapid weight loss, or just natural aging can result in excess skin deposits anywhere on the body, including the arms.
- Surgery is guaranteed to fix it, but should be considered the last option. Your arm flaps aren’t going anywhere – in fact, that’s the core of the problem – so you should never feel pressured or rushed into brachioplasty. When other options have failed and your arms are still loose, flabby or disproportionately sized, then you should consider surgical options.
The principle of brachioplasty is the same as any reduction surgery. Your doctor will make several small incisions and liposuction the excess fatty deposits out through them. Where there’s an excess of skin, it will be removed in order to tighten up the arms. The exact procedures, however, depend on the cause and nature of your arm flaps. There are three main types of cases we see.
Are your arms simply too fat?
If you’re relatively young and have fairly tight and healthy skin, but your arms are just too fat compared to the rest of your body, then it means you’re almost certainly a victim of genetics. These are the quickest and easiest of all brachioplasties. Your surgeon will make a miniscule 5mm incision in the crease of each armpit and liposuction away the excess fatty deposits. These cases are particularly straight-forward and generally involve no more than a day’s worth of downtime. It can strike both genders, but is more likely to appear in women.
Do you have loose and aging arm skin?
Everyone’s skin is different, but one thing that stays the same is the immutable law of epidermal elasticity. No matter who you are, your skin will get less stretchy and more saggy as you age. When this happens to the arms, it often creates the unsightly batwing effect. In these cases, patients often experience thickening of the arm tissue itself as well as excessively loose skin layers. The exact nature of the surgery involved here depends on the extent of the issue. In principle it’s the same basic liposuctioning process as above, but may require longer incisions that extend a short way down the arm and the removal of excess skin.
Are you stuck with arm flaps after losing weight?
This is the third type of case we see, and it can strike any age or gender. When you lose a lot of weight, there’s usually a fair amount of skin left behind, which may or may not tighten itself with time. This can be a real problem on the arms, where the excess skin can actually interfere with day to day activities or remain so loose as to prevent you from wearing some sleeves. Here, the incision usually needs to extend down the inside of the arm to the elbow. The downside is that it leaves a hairline scar behind afterwards. The upside is that you’ll have perfectly proportionate and well-contoured arms, no excess skin or flab and complete freedom to wear short sleeves perform activities that were previously hindered by all the arm flabbiness.