Wings, flags, grandma’s arms, these are all familiar sayings to those with loose skin hanging from the upper arms. It is not unusual for a woman after massive weight loss to complain of excess skin and redundant fat on her upper arms. Of course, there are many reasons why this sagging skin on the arms develops. It is primarily a factor related to weight loss, the aging process, and after massive weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery. Aging is also a factor, as it is with the laxity of the skin in all areas of the body.
The common complaint of people with heavy arms is that the skin hangs down and creates an unsightly appearance. Short-sleeved shirts and blouses can no longer be worn as it can make patients feel embarrassed. The solution to the problem is a careful adaptation of oily and sagging skin. This is done with a combination of judicious waxing and liposuction. Liposuction is an excellent tool that can be used to reduce the length of incisions needed to achieve a well-contoured arm.
Time, weight and gravity are very powerful forces that, together with the loss of elasticity of the skin, help to create the problem. Once the skin is stretched too far, it is difficult for it to retract even after substantial weight loss. Over time, this fabric loses its natural ability to contour and continues to pull down.
Once stretch marks or thinned atrophic skin become apparent, it is usually too late to improve the shape in this area. Exercise, while suggested and highly beneficial, will only tone the underlying muscle and will not help with sagging skin. Surgery, in a way, is all that can be done to get any kind of improvement. A good candidate for the procedure has sagging skin on the arms and realistic expectations of what the procedure can accomplish.
A good candidate for an arm lift has loose skin on the upper arms. A line drawn between the biceps and triceps muscles on the inside of the upper arm becomes the point of division. If there is more than 50% of the distance below the line, then a surgical arm lift is indicated. If the distance is less than 50/50, liposuction may be a good option. A consultation will help determine which operation will be best based on the individual anatomy. .
An arm lift is usually done under general anesthesia. Before surgery, the amount of skin and fat to be removed from the skin will be calculated and marked. It is important to carefully delineate the skin and tissue to be removed. In some patients, the excision of the skin will be a large ellipse on the inside of the upper arms. Some of the newer arm lift techniques can be done with incisions only in the armpit. Of course, the more discreet the scar, the easier it will be to hide it with normal clothing.
The result of a properly performed arm lift is a beautifully contoured and aesthetically pleasing arm shape. Skin will tighten to help restore a more youthful contour. After the procedure, most patients comment on their renewed sense of self-image and self-confidence.
To better understand all of your options, a full consultation with a plastic surgeon is recommended.