Arm & Thigh Lift Introduction
As we grow older, it is typical for our skin to start losing the elasticity and tight contour it had in the past. This laxity commonly occurs between the shoulder and the elbow. Whether your arm skin is loose and flabby due to gravity or it is stretched out due to weight loss, an arm lift may be just what you need to tighten your skin and create a firmer, younger contour. An arm lift, also known as “brachioplasty”, surgically thins and reshapes the area of your arm between the shoulder and elbow. By removing excess fat deposits and skin in this area to reshape and improve the contour, plastic surgery specialist Dr. Kim can give you a more toned upper arm appearance.
A thigh lift reshapes the thighs in similar fashion. Dr. Kim removes excess skin and fat from the upper leg so you have better proportioned thighs and a more toned leg contour. Neither arm nor thigh lift surgery is the same thing as having liposuction in these areas. Liposuction is more suited for patients with firmer fat deposits, whereas arm or thigh lift is ideal for removing loose, sagging, stretched skin that will not disappear with diet and exercise.
Choosing Arm and Thigh Lift
Choosing to undergo arm or thigh lift is a highly personal decision, and you should only elect to have this surgery if it is right for you and not because you want to meet anyone else’s expectations. If you want a firmer, more youthful arm or thigh appearance and fitness and weight loss efforts have not allowed you to reach your goal, then this type of surgical intervention may be right for you.
A variety of people elect to undergo arm or thigh lift. Patients at normal weights who want tighter, firmer contours may elect to undergo this procedure. Massive weight loss patients with significant excess skin in the thighs and arms are good candidates as well. It is important to note that patients who want an arm or thigh lift should not smoke, be in good physical health, be at a stable weight, and have realistic goals and desires for surgery.
During your individualized consultation with Dr. John Kim in his offices in Streeterville in downtown Chicago, he will take a close look at your problematic body areas, so he can customize a treatment plan specifically for you. He will ensure you fully understand the risks of the procedure so you are able to make an informed decision.
The Arm Lift Procedure
Dr. John Kim adjusts the pattern and length of the incision for arm lift surgery based on the location and amount of excess skin and fat to be removed. The incision could be a very small one contained entirely within the armpit, if you are a patient with a small amount of excess skin in the upper arm. Or, the scar may be larger and run from the elbow, through the armpit, and onto the side of the back if you are someone with significant upper arm excess (as with massive weight loss patients). Your scar will remain visible over time; however, many of Dr. Kim’s patients are very pleased with their tighter, more contoured upper arms, making the scarring worth it. During your personalized consultation with Dr. Kim, he will discuss incision patterns with you and help you decide which option is best. Often, Dr. Kim is even able to place a large incision in a discrete location where it is not easily visible.
During your arm lift procedure, Dr. Kim may elect to do some liposuction in addition to the lift. This will help reduce the fat deposits present in your upper arm. Once he removes the excess skin with the lift and excess fat with liposuction, he will place support stitches in your arm to form and support the new contours. Your incision will then be closed with normal sutures.
The Thigh Lift Procedure
The pattern and length of your thigh lift surgery incision depends on the location and amount of excess skin and fat to be removed. The incision can be very small and not extend beyond the groin area, or it may be larger and extend from the groin around the hip. Usually, the larger incision is used when Dr. Kim improves the contours of your outer thigh, not just your inner thigh. During your personalized consultation with Dr. Kim in his offices in the Galter Pavilion on the Northwestern campus in downtown Chicago, he will discuss your incision options and work with you to decide which option is best. Often, he is able to place even large incisions in a location not readily visible.
Through the incision(s), Dr. Kim is able to tighten your tissues for a firmer, smoother lower body contour with improved tone. The tissue under the skin as well as the skin itself will be reduced and reshaped, allowing for more proportionate and more attractive body contours.
Dr. John Kim, cosmetic plastic surgeon, typically performs his arm and thigh lifts as outpatient procedures, meaning you will go home the day of surgery or less commonly be admitted to the hospital for 23 hours or less. Directly after surgery, he may apply dressings and bandages to your incisions and perhaps an elastic bandage as well to reduce any swelling. Thin, small drains may be placed beneath the skin for a few days or weeks to drain excess fluid or blood that accumulates at your surgery site. Dr. Kim will provide you with specific directions as to how to care for your body following surgery, including medications to aid healing and avoid infection and when to schedule follow up appointments to see him in his Northwestern Plastic Surgery office.
As you recover, it is crucial that you follow the plan of care Dr. Kim outlines for you. He will discuss what to expect during your recovery period, including pain expectations, activity levels, and driving restrictions. It is very important that your incisions are not subjected to any abrasion, motion, or excessive force as they heal. The healing process varies from patient to patient based on how extensive the surgical correction was, but it is typical that patients are required to wear a compression garment to provide support to the affected tissues as they heal and to minimize swelling. After just a few weeks, patients are usually able to resume the majority of their normal daily activities, including mild exercise.
Swelling typically begins to subside after 2 weeks, and you will start to notice your tighter, smoother contours at that time. Scars often appear prominent the first few months after surgery, but those too begin to subside over time. They gradually flatten and lighten in color, but they will not disappear entirely. Arm or thigh lifts can give patients with extra, sagging, stretchy skin very positive results. Your slimmer contours can provide you with a more beautiful physique and increased self-esteem. These lift surgeries are considered permanent; however, Dr. Kim always recommends that you maintain a healthy weight and diet so as to retain your excellent results.