Scars after Arm Lift Surgery
If you are wondering how to reduce scars after arm lift surgery, you should know that Brachioplasty (commonly referred to as arm lift) is a popular choice among people who have experienced significant weight loss. After losing weight, the skin might not retract to the new contours of the body. Excess skin folds can occur as a result of significant weight loss, especially if it occurs in a short period of time. Excess skin at the level of the arms can only be addressed with the help of arm lift surgery (Brachioplasty). But what exactly is arm lift surgery and how does it work?
Arm lift surgery or brachioplasty is a procedure designed to alter the shape and contour of your upper arms. The procedure begins with an incision made in the under-portion of your upper arm, usually running from your elbow to your armpit. Starting from here, Dr Carmen will remove excess skin and fat, and reshape the underlying supportive tissue. Once the excess skin and fat are removed, the remaining skin is pulled tight and sutured together. This gives your arms a more contoured, sleeker, and smoother appearance.
Patients interested in arm lift/brachioplasty surgery should be aware of the fact that the surgery leaves a scar, which is an unavoidable part of the procedure. With proper care and management, these scars can be minimised and become less visible over time.
Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Carmen Munteanu regularly performs various body contouring procedures, including arm lift surgery. She understands that post-operative care is crucial to achieving optimal outcomes, and she is dedicated to supporting her patients throughout their recovery. This includes providing detailed instructions for post-operative care, addressing any concerns or complications promptly, and guiding patients on how to maintain their results.
Download Dr Carmen’s Guide to Cosmetic Surgery Recovery
Arm Lift Surgery Incisions
In an arm lift surgery, or brachioplasty, the location of incisions and resulting scars is a crucial aspect to consider. The placement of these incisions is a strategic decision made by your surgeon, aiming to remove excess skin and fat while minimising visible scarring.
The incision for an arm lift is most often made on the inside or back of the arm and can extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. The exact length and pattern of the incision will depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed.
- In a minimal incision arm lift, also known as a mini brachioplasty, the incision is made in the underarm area. This technique is suitable for those who need a smaller amount of skin and fat removal and results in a scar that is hidden in the underarm area
- In a standard brachioplasty, the incision is made from the elbow, extending up to the underarm, and may continue onto the side of the chest. While this technique allows for more substantial skin and fat removal, it results in a more visible scar
- In an extended brachioplasty, the incision extends from the elbow to the underarm and continues along the side of the chest. This technique is often used for individuals who have lost significant weight and have extensive excess skin. The resulting scar is more extensive but is often placed in a location that is less visible when the arms are at the sides
After the surgery, the incisions are closed with absorbable sutures, or stitches, that will eventually dissolve on their own. Over time, the incision lines will fade and become less noticeable. However, the final appearance of the scars will depend on several factors, including your body’s healing process, the specific surgical technique used, and post-operative care.
Practical Tips and Techniques for Scar Minimisation
Scar minimisation combines medical knowledge with practical everyday techniques. Here are some practical tips and techniques that can help minimise the appearance of scars after an arm lift surgery:
- Avoid Sun Exposure: Newly healed skin is more susceptible to sun damage, which can darken the scar. Protect the scar from the sun by wearing protective clothing or applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Good nutrition is essential for wound healing. Foods rich in protein, vitamins A and C, and zinc can promote healing and help minimise scarring
- Stay Hydrated: Keeping your body well-hydrated can improve skin elasticity and promote healing. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day
- Don’t Smoke: Smoking/Vaping can delay healing and result in more noticeable scars. If you’re a smoker, try to quit before your surgery and during the recovery period. Some surgeons will not operate if you continue to smoke/vape
- Gentle Massage: Once the wound has healed, gentle massage can help break down scar tissue and improve its appearance. Always check with Dr Carmen before starting scar massage
- Use Silicone Sheets or Gel: Silicone products have been shown to be effective in reducing the thickness, colour, and texture of scars. They work by hydrating the scar and regulating collagen production
- Stay Active: Regular exercise improves circulation, which can promote wound healing. However, avoid strenuous activity or any exercises that could strain the incision site until Dr Carmen gives you the go-ahead
- Be Patient: Healing takes time, and so does scar minimisation. It can take a year or more for a scar to fully mature and become less visible
Scar Reduction Options
In the field of scar reduction, modern innovations have given rise to a multitude of cutting-edge technologies and non-invasive treatments that hold the promise of changing the way we address scars after an arm lift. From lasers to micro-needles, there are options available to help reduce scars after arm lift surgery.
Laser Therapy for Scar Reduction
Laser therapy offers targeted and precise treatments that can improve the appearance of scars. By harnessing the power of focused light, lasers can penetrate the skin’s surface and stimulate the production of collagen, the building block of healthy skin. This process leads to scar remodelling and the gradual fading of scar tissue.
Benefits of laser therapy:
- Enhanced scar texture: Laser treatments can smoothen rough or uneven scar tissue, making it blend more seamlessly with the surrounding skin
- Reduction of redness and pigmentation: Laser energy can target excess blood vessels and melanin in scars, reducing redness and hyperpigmentation
- Promotion of collagen production: By stimulating collagen synthesis, lasers help promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells, gradually improving the overall appearance of scars
Risks and costs associated with laser therapy:
- Potential side effects: Temporary redness, swelling, or slight discomfort are common side effects that subside within a few days
- Variable cost considerations: The cost of laser therapy can vary depending on factors such as the size and severity of scars, the number of sessions required, and the location of the treatment facility
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, has emerged as a popular non-invasive treatment for scar reduction. This technique involves the use of a specialised device equipped with tiny needles that create controlled micro-injuries in the skin. These micro-injuries trigger the body’s natural healing response, leading to collagen production and scar remodelling.
Benefits of microneedling:
- Refinement of scar texture: The controlled micro-injuries from the tiny needles promote the formation of new collagen fibres, resulting in smoother and more refined scar tissue
- Reduction of scar discolouration: Microneedling can help fade hyperpigmentation or dark spots, giving scars a more natural appearance
- Minimal downtime: Microneedling is a gentle procedure that requires little downtime, allowing individuals to resume their daily activities relatively quickly
Risks and costs associated with microneedling:
- Temporary side effects: Mild redness, swelling, or slight sensitivity may occur immediately following the procedure but usually subside within a few days
- Cost considerations: The cost of micro-needling can vary depending on factors such as the size and number of treatment areas and the experience and expertise of the practitioner
Other Scar Minimisation Options
While laser therapy and microneedling have gained prominence, the field of scar reduction continues to evolve with other innovative non-invasive treatments. These include:
- Radiofrequency therapy: Utilising radiofrequency energy, this treatment can stimulate collagen production and remodel scar tissue, leading to improved scar appearance
- Ultrasound therapy: Using ultrasound waves, this non-invasive approach promotes collagen synthesis, enhances blood circulation, and helps in scar remodelling
- Cryotherapy: By subjecting the scar tissue to extreme cold temperatures, cryotherapy can encourage collagen production, resulting in reduced scar visibility
FAQs about Scars after Arms Lift Surgery
What is an arm lift surgery and why might someone need it?
- An arm lift surgery, also known as brachioplasty, is a procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms. You might consider this surgery if your upper arms have a drooping, sagging appearance due to ageing, significant weight loss, or genetic factors. The goal of the surgery is to give your arms a more toned appearance.
What are the potential complications of arm lift surgery?
- Like any surgery, an arm lift/brachioplasty comes with potential complications. These can include scarring, pain, infection, and fluid accumulation in the arms. Less common complications can include nerve compression and sensory loss. It’s important to discuss these risks with Dr Carmen before deciding to have the surgery.
How can I minimise scarring after arm lift surgery?
- There are several strategies to minimise scarring after arm lift surgery. These include following Dr Carmen’s wound care instructions, protecting the scar from the sun, maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, avoiding smoking/vaping, and possibly using silicone sheets or gel. Gentle massage of the healed wound can also help improve the appearance of the scar.
What role does nutrition play in wound healing and scar minimisation?
- Good nutrition is essential for wound healing and scar minimisation. Protein, Vitamins A and C, and Zinc are particularly important for tissue repair and regeneration. Staying well-hydrated can also improve skin elasticity and promote healing.
What can I expect during the recovery process after arm lift surgery?
- Recovery from arm lift surgery typically involves some degree of pain and swelling. Dr Carmen will provide specific instructions on how to care for your wound, manage pain, and when you can return to normal activities. You may also need to wear a compression garment for a few weeks to reduce swelling and support healing. It’s important to follow Dr Carmen’s instructions closely to get optimal results after your arms lift surgery.
Further Reading about Arm Lift Surgery with Dr Carmen
- Read Dr Carmen’s Arm Lift Surgery Page
- See Dr Carmen’s Arm Lift Before and After Photos
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about Arm Lipo vs Arm Lift
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about Recovery after Arm Lift Surgery – How to get the best results
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about When Can I Exercise After Arm Lift Surgery
Medical References about Scars after Surgical Procedures
- Scar Treatment 101: What Are the First Steps? – American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- Scars – NHS
- Update on Postsurgical Scar Management – NCBI
- Brachioplasty (Arm Lift): Surgery, Recovery & What To Expect – Cleveland Clinic
Further Reading about Body Procedures with Dr Carmen
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about Compression Garments after Body Lift
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about How Can I Reduce Swelling and Bruising After Body Lift Surgery
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about How to Reduce Scars after Body Lift Surgery