Arm Laxity

An aesthetic arm is one that conveys the image of youth, athleticism and good health. It has taut, elastic skin with a thin layer of subcutaneous fat covering the underlying muscle and bone. It is often desirable for men and increasingly so in females, to have visible, sculpted contours of the deltoid, biceps, and triceps muscles. Other women may desire arms that have smooth, fusiform contours that run from the shoulder to the elbow.

How Does It Manifest?

Individuals frequently note skin laxity in their inner arms after childbirth or weight loss. The skin folds start from the axilla (underarm) and extend for a variable distance, towards the elbow. This is described as a “batwing” appearance when the arms are held up. The skin folds obscure underlying muscle contour and are generally unsightly. Individuals may be shy about wearing clothes that expose their arms and are conscious about raising them. Individuals often have coexisting fat deposits in the inner and outer arms leading to irregular arm contours.

A woman in a black bikini outfit displaying her well toned arms after having Arm Liposuction.

How does it arise?

The inner arm skin has naturally few fibrous attachments to the underlying muscle. With weight loss, childbirth, or advancing age, there is thinning of the skin and the subcutaneous fat layer. This results in excess unsupported skin that droops vertically downwards and creates the visible deformities. There are also persistent areas of fat deposits in the inner and outer arms that do not disappear with weight loss; this is due to alterations in the metabolism of adipocytes (fat storage cells).

Arm Lift - Brachioplasty

Brachioplasty recreates an aesthetically pleasing arm contour while siting the scar at an inconspicuous location in the inner arm. Concurrent liposuction may be performed to reduce fat deposits and these procedures work synergistically to restore the arm aesthetic.

Brachioplasty is an ambulatory procedure that is performed under intravenous sedation or a short general anesthesia. Successful reversal of these anatomical changes helps individuals restore their self-confidence and social functioning.

The following are individuals who are good candidates for brachioplasty:

  • Stable weight for at least 3 months
  • Normal or near-normal BMI with localized fat deposits

Brachioplasty is aimed at restoring one’s arm contour to resemble the pre-obesity or restore pre-pregnancy appearance as far as possible while minimizing scar length and visibility by applying appropriate design and surgical techniques.

High-definition techniques are possible where liposuction is performed at specific areas to accentuate the muscle contour (e.g. the deltoid groove), and fat obtained from liposuction is grafted into the muscles to increase their bulk. These techniques augment the athletic and toned appearance.

Individuals are advised to stop herbal supplements and traditional medicine, and start special medications 7 days prior to surgery to minimize bruising and swelling.

The location and amount of excess skin and fat are determined preoperatively, and the proposed scar marked out. Liposuction, if required, is performed through small incisions made at the back of the elbow. It is performed using specialized cannulas that break up, and then aspirate the fat. The excess skin and fat is excised, taking care to preserve important nerve and vascular structures in the inner arm. The wound closed carefully for optimal postoperative outcome. The amount of skin to be excised is a fine art: sufficient to create a pleasing contour, yet within appropriate limits to avoid excessive wound tension and complications. In individuals requesting for high definition of the arm, additional 5-mm incisions are performed to facilitate liposuction and fat grafting, to accentuate the junctions between the arm muscles.

Minor postoperative bruising and swelling is expected, which will mostly resolve after the 10th postoperative day. Many individuals are able to return to work after the 3rd postoperative day.

Stitch removal is not required as the stitches used are self-dissolving. Showering is possible from the second postoperative day onwards. Bruising may be minimized by avoidance of strenuous activity for the first 14 days. Specific post-operative compression garments may be required in the first 14 days to minimize postoperative bruising and swelling, guide the shrinkage of skin and prevent formation of irregular skin folds. Routine exercise and gym activity may be resumed after 14 days postoperatively.

Is Liposuction Safe?

Effective and safe treatments are the cornerstones of care delivery at Picasso Plastic Surgery. MOH has a set of stringent regulations governing liposuction to ensure patient safety. In accordance with these regulations:

  • Liposuction may be performed by plastic surgeons, or selected non-specialist practitioners possessing appropriate MOH licensing. Dr Yeo is a plastic surgeon with extensive experience with liposuction for both aesthetic and reconstructive purposes
  • Liposuction cases need to be performed at certified Ambulatory Surgical Centers. Our clinic operating facility has received MOH certification as an ASC
  • Ambulatory liposuction may be performed up to a maximum volume of 2 liters of supernatant fat (the fat fraction after separation from the fluid). Overnight stay in the hospital for monitoring is required for individuals desiring liposuction involving larger volumes. Dr Yeo has specialist credentialing at a broad range of private hospitals to facilitate overnight admission should individuals wish to perform liposuction beyond the 2 liter stipulation

A woman with toned arms displays the results of an arm lift brachioplasty.

The Picasso Advantage

Dr Yeo uses a proprietary short incision brachioplasty technique that maximally reduces arm skin while minimizing the scar length. Dr Yeo is privileged to have visited and learnt from some of the foremost overseas experts in this field. He is regularly invited to speak on body, arm and thigh contouring at plastic surgery conferences in the Asia Pacific region.

Our clinic has an en suite operating facility that has MOH certification as an Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC). This assures your maximal privacy and convenience while keeping facility and equipment costs contained. Our operating room carries a full range of equipment for Brachioplasty tailored to delivering optimal results.