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Upper Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

If you wish to improve your arms' shape and contour, you may want to consider a brachioplasty. This surgical procedure removes fat and excess skin hanging from the upper arm. For people who have had a dramatic weight loss -- or who simply want their arms to look shapely -- a brachioplasty can help.

The Procedure: Incisions are made underneath the inner arm area, from elbow to armpit, where they are less likely to be noticeable later. Then, the surgeon simply removes whatever is hanging -- excess skin and fat. To improve the arm's overall look, liposuction may also be performed. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and lasts from two to four hours.

Common Side Effects: Bruising, swelling, and numbness are temporary and will improve with time. Most patients develop large scars on the inner and/or back parts of their arm. These fade somewhat over time with the aid of scar creams, massage, and silicone tape.

Complications: Bleeding, infection, fluid collection, permanent inner arm numbness, and asymmetry are uncommon but can occur.

Recovery: The initial recovery from surgery is about 10 to 14 days, with complete recovery within four to six weeks. The incisions can take up to one year to fully heal.

Results: Depending upon age of the patient at the time of procedure, it can be long lasting. Diet and strength exercises help prolong and enhance results.

Find out more about upper arm lifts.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael J. Wheatley, MD, December 10, 2007.

SOURCES: Christopher K. Livingston, MD, assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. WebMD Medical Reference: "Arm, Thigh, and Buttock Lifts."

Wound Repair

Burns, traumatic injuries, and any serious wound can benefit from reconstructive surgery. A skilled plastic surgeon can offer several procedures to improve your mobility, function, and the appearance of your wounds.

The Procedure: Depending on your injury, the surgeon will suggest various treatments. Among them:

  • Skin grafts: This is most often used for burn patients, when skin is removed from one area of the body and transplanted to another. Skin grafts are also used for breast or nose reconstruction procedures.
  • Microsurgery: This surgery involves sewing tiny blood vessels or nerves to reattach a severed finger, toe, ear, or lip. Microsurgery is also used to treat facial paralysis or reconstruct breasts.
  • Free flap procedure: Muscle, skin, or bone is transferred from one part of the body to another. The flap procedure is used for breast reconstruction or head-and-neck cancer surgery. This also involves microsurgery.
  • Tissue expansion: This procedure prompts your body to "grow" extra skin for use in breast reconstruction, scalp repair, or other procedures. A balloon expander inserted under the skin helps skin to stretch and grow, similar to a woman's skin during pregnancy.

Common Side Effects: The side effects will depend on the procedure used. Your doctor can discuss side effects in detail.

Complications: There is risk of infection at the surgical site.

Recovery: Healing from these procedures generally takes several months. Once you are released from the hospital, you will recuperate at home. It is important to follow your doctors' instructions regarding wound care and infection prevention.

Results: The results of reconstructive surgery will last your entire life. They will be affected by the changes of aging, but the basic structural changes will remain intact.

Find out more about plastic surgery for burns, traumatic injuries, and other wounds.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael J. Wheatley, MD, December 10, 2007.

SOURCES: Jeffrey R. Marcus MD, assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine. WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Plastic Surgery for Burns, Traumatic Injuries and Other Wounds."

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