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Brachioplasty (Arm Reduction)

What is a Brachioplasty?

A Brachioplasty from our experienced plastic surgeon, Dr. Craig Layt, is a surgical procedure which aims to reduce or eliminate the excess skin from the arms. This skin is often present due to ageing or significant weight loss.

What can you expect after the operation?

You will have a waterproof dressing over the wound and the arm will be bandaged. You will also be fitted with a compression garment straight after surgery. You may have drains in place which will be removed in 24-48 hrs. The operation is not a particularly painful one.  Pain is usually well controlled with tablets and this means it is possible for you to go home soon after the operation or the following day.

Depending on your specific circumstances, there are often no sutures to be removed as dissolvable sutures are placed under the skin.  You should limit any strenuous activity during the first 2 weeks.  Thereafter, you can steadily increase your activity level within the limits of discomfort.

What are the potential risks?

Modern surgery is safe.  There is, however, no such thing as “risk free” surgery.  The important thing is to understand any potential risks and minimise their occurrence by appropriate planning and management.

SCARS:  The scars usually extend from the inner aspect of the elbow up into the axilla (armpit).  Dr Layt will place them in the most inconspicuous line possible, but you will always see them to some extent.  No matter how carefully we make repairs, using the best plastic surgery techniques, you will always have scars. Initially, the scars will appear red or dark pink, and they will slowly fade over a period of months to a year or more. The scars will start out very narrow, but may widen over time.  Neither you, nor Dr Layt can control their eventual width. Dr Layt advises taping the wounds with Fixomull or Hypafix tape for 3 months after the operation to decrease scar thickening and widening.  The tape is changed every 2 – 3 days as required

UNEVEN SKIN CONTOURS:  Following your upper arm lift, the skin contours may be slightly uneven and areas of slight depression or wrinkling can occur.  As healing progresses, most of these problems (if present) usually improve dramatically.

ASYMMETRY:  Some asymmetry of arm lift scars occurs frequently as healing is not always even from side to side.  The mild asymmetry is usually not cosmetically significant.  If the asymmetry is significant, revisional surgery of the scars may be considered.

LOSS OF SENSATION: Normal surgery can damage sensory nerves. Although this does not occur frequently, you may have areas of numbness adjacent to the scars.  If so, the numbness usually improves with time.

SWELLING: Normal postoperative swelling always occurs and will take several months to disappear completely.  Surgical interference with the lymph drainage system rarely happens.  If any interference should occur, it should prove minor and transient.  Should this rare problem surface, we would prescribe a compression “stocking” for the upper arm.

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SPECIFIC PRE OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

Preparation for your Brachioplasty is a relatively simple process.

WASHING:  Wash the evening prior to surgery and the day of surgery paying particular attention to the area to be operated on. This decreases the bacterial count and should decrease the risks of infection.

PRODUCTS:  Do not apply moisturisers, make-up, perfume/deodorant, nail polish or hair products after washing.  Remove all jewellery.

CLOTHING:  Wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear.

FASTING:  If you are having surgery on the Gold Coast, you should have nothing to eat or drink (including water) 6 hours before your procedure.  If you are having surgery in Ballina you should have nothing to eat 6 hours prior and nothing to drink (including water) 4 hours prior to your surgery. If you are required to take medication during this time please speak with your physician to check if this can be taken before the 6 hour fasting period or after your procedure.

MEDICATION:  If you are having the operation as a day case, you will be given a script for antibiotics and pain relief tablets that you will need to purchase from the chemist and bring with you on the day of your procedure. Do not take these prior to surgery. The nursing staff will advise you and your carer after your procedure on how to administer them.

Certain over the counter products and prescription medicines can cause complications before and after surgery.  They can reduce the ability of your blood to clot and could increase your tendency to bleed during and after surgery.  Do not take any medication containing or related to aspirin 2 weeks prior to your procedure. This includes NSAID’S, anti-Inflammatory medications, blood thinning medication. Please see your doctor regarding if and when to cease your medication. *This is not an all inclusive list*.

Also avoid Vitamin E supplements, fish oil and red wine.  Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely effect anesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding and impair healing after surgery.  Please consult your physician before ceasing any medication.  Paracetamol ie. Panadol is fine to take.

SMOKING:  Smoking increases the risks of complications significantly and should be ceased 6-8 weeks prior to surgery.

ADMINISTRATION: Unfortunately, paperwork is a necessary evil. Each theatre complex has its own procedures. We have attempted to make it all easy by providing a simple series of steps to follow titled “THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR PROCEDURE” specific to the surgery center you are attending. Please follow these instructions. If you have any queries about this or anything else don’t hesitate to contact us on (07) 5597 4100.

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SPECIFIC POST OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

SENSATION:  Usually, the skin around the incision remains partially or completely numb for several months or longer.  Tingling, burning, or shooting pains indicate regeneration of the small sensory nerves.  This feeling will disappear with time and is not cause for alarm.

ACTIVITIES:  Use your arms carefully and gently until our nursing staff or Dr Layt states that you have clearance for full activities – usually in 3 – 4 weeks.

DRIVING: You can probably drive as soon as you are comfortable.  Let your body “tell” you when you are ready. If you have questions, ask our nursing staff or Dr Layt.

DRESSINGS/DRAINS: An appointment will be arranged 24-48hrs post-operativley to remove your drains. If you are staying in hospital overnight these will be removed before you are discharged. An appointment will be arranged 1 week post operatively when your dissolving sutures will be snipped and Fixomull tape will be applied to the suture lines. This tape is shower proof and can be changed every 3 days.

TAPE: Dr Layt advises taping the wounds with Fixomull initially then Siltape for 8-12 weeks after your operation for optimal scar healing.  Our nurse will change these dressings 1 week after your operation. You will be given a sample pack of Siltape that will last approximately 6 weeks, after this you will need to purchase the Siltape yourself.

SHOWERING:You will be able to shower at 24-48hrs post-operatively after the drains have been removed.  Water and cleanliness will help, not harm.

COMPRESSION GARMENT:  You are required to wear this for 3 months to help with skin integrity and swelling. You can remove the garment for showering after the drains have been removed.

TED STOCKINGS: You may be required to wear TED stockings for compression to prevent DVT (blood clotting) post-operatively.  If required these will be fitted at the hospital on your admission day.  The nursing staff will advise you on how long you need to wear these for.

MEDICATION: Take your pain relief and anti-biotic medication as directed.  Any medication you ceased prior to surgery must not be taken after your surgery until you are completely healed or as directed by your physician.

In addition to Brachioplasty, Dr Layt offers a range of both surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic enhancement procedures that can help you achieve your goals. Our options include an array of body contouring treatments, breast surgery, cosmetic injectables, and much more.

Contact The Layt Clinic

If you have any further questions regarding a Brachioplasty, or if you would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact The Layt Clinic on (07)55974100.

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