Arm Lift/Thigh Lift
Our upper arms are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to fighting the effects of aging. After all, the skin and muscle on the underside of the arms never has any support; it is always under attack by gravity. In some cases, especially if the person has gained and then lost a good deal of weight, the skin on the upper arms can swing back and forth when the arms are moved. It can be enough to make you ditch your sleeveless blouses and swimsuits, which is a shame with our toasty Cincinnati summers.
The thighs have a similar situation, as they tend to accumulate saggy skin. As with the upper arms, this is often the case after a person has gained and then lost a good deal of weight. Once the skin on the upper thighs has stretched for a period of time, it will not tighten back down to its former contour. Now the patient is left with sagging, droopy upper thighs.
But all hope is not lost. Dr. Donna Krummen can give you back slimmer, contoured arms with an arm lift. And she can do the same for those sagging thighs with a thigh lift. These procedures reshape the arms and thighs, giving them a more toned, slimmer profile.
What is an Arm Lift?
Bat wings. That is the colloquial name for the phenomenon where the skin on the underside of the upper arms actually flaps back and forth, kind of like a flying mammal. Not exactly what you want when you reach for a sleeveless sundress. With an arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, the goal is to remove excess sagging skin and tighten the support muscles beneath to dramatically slim the upper arms. A brachioplasty returns tone and contour to the upper arms.
Would I be a good candidate for an arm lift?
Loose upper arms can simply be the result of aging and genetics. Or they can be the result of weight gain and loss. If the loose skin on the underside of your upper arms moves freely when you shift your arm, an arm lift could be a good procedure for you. An arm lift removes the loose skin and accumulated fat and returns tone and contour to your upper arms.
But Dr. Krummen wants her patients to understand that an arm lift is not intended to be for weight loss. Patients need to be near their ideal weight. This is not an arbitrary requirement — subsequent additional weight loss from a person who gets this surgery when she is overweight will immediately create more loose skin on the upper arms. Plus, arm surgery creates a lengthy scar, so that should be taken into account.
Are there different types of arm lifts?
There are really only two methods of arm surgery. There is a traditional/full arm lift or a minimal-incision arm lift. Which of these methods is right for you will depend wholly on the amount of sagging skin you have.
How is a Brachioplasty Procedure Performed?
Due to the length of the upper arms, an arm lift creates a lengthy incision. There is simply no way around it. Dr. Krummen usually makes an incision that runs on the underside of the upper arm, running from the underarm to the elbow. Through this incision, she is able to remove excess fat pockets with liposuction. She then repositions and tightens the underlying muscle tissue, and trims away excess skin.
Some patients do not have an extensive amount of sagging skin, but still want to tighten the contour of the upper arms. For these patients, Dr. Krummen may be able to make just a few small incisions near the underarm. These replace the long incision of a full arm lift. She can then tighten the support muscles to slim the contour and tighten the overall appearance. As you would expect, a minimal-incision arm lift cannot achieve the same degree of overall tightening and contouring.
What will my arm lift recovery be like?
Recovery from arm lift surgery is not difficult. The key to a successful brachioplasty recovery is to avoid lifting much with your arms. As you would assume, lifting too much weight can strain your incisions and your tightened muscles and create complications.
After your arm lift with Dr. Krummen, you will return home with your arms wrapped in bandages. You will likely have drainage tubes on your incisions. You will be given compression garments for both arms to minimize swelling and help your arms adapt to their new contour. It is important to wear these garments during your recovery from arm lift surgery. There will be swelling, due to the tissue repositioning, but it should be mostly gone in around two weeks. It will return at times, and you can lessen it by keeping your arms elevated as much as possible during your early recovery. It helps to sleep with your arms elevated for the first two weeks. Within one to two weeks you can return to work, but strenuous activity and lifting will need to wait. Dr. Krummen will discuss returning to certain forms of exercise and lifting heavier objects when she sees how your recovery is progressing.
When will I see results from my arm lift?
You will have swelling that will mask your initial view of your arms, but you willl still notice an immediate difference. You will only become more pleased with your results as residual swelling passes. Your scars will fade faster than you think, and most patients are highly satisfied with their arm lift.
Will I have a noticeable scar from this procedure?
Short of a tummy tuck, arm lifts have one of the longer incisions in cosmetic surgery. This is simply due to the length of the upper arm. Dr. Krummen places the incision as innocuously as possible on the underside of the arm. Still, there will be a scar. If you minimize any sun exposure your incisions receive for the first few months, you will be amazed at how quickly the scars fade.
What is a thigh lift?
A thigh lift, also known as a thighplasty, is a body-contouring procedure. The goal for Dr. Krummen with these surgeries is to take loose, saggy thighs and transform them into a slimmer, contoured form. A thighplasty removes excess skin and fat from the inner and outer thighs. On the inner thigh, Dr. Krummen may include liposuction to remove some of the excess fat.
Would I be a good candidate for a thigh lift?
Patients who have lost a good deal of weight are great candidates for thigh lifts. Thigh lifts are also excellent for those with poor skin elasticity on the inner or outer thighs. A thigh lift will remove the excess skin and tighten and firm the thigh contour.
There is a simple test to see if a thigh lift would benefit you:
- For the inner thigh lift, stand in front of a mirror and pinch the skin of your inner thigh and lift that skin upwards toward your groin. This will give you an idea of what an inner thigh lift will accomplish.
- For the outer thigh lift, pinch the excess skin at your hip together. Notice the effect this has on the profile of your leg, making it appear more slender and contoured. This is what an outer thigh lift will do.
How is a thigh lift performed?
Dr. Krummen can use a couple different methods for these surgeries. She has various options for the location and type of incisions for these thigh procedures. During your consultation, the two of you will discuss what she feels will work best for your situation. These are the two basic procedures for inner and outer thighs.
Inner thigh lift:
Inner thigh lifts are sometimes called medial thigh lifts. For these thigh procedures, Dr. Krummen makes the incision at the junction where the thigh meets the pubic area. This makes for a discreet incision, yet it gives her access to the necessary underlying tissues. Once the incision is made, a wedge of skin is removed, along with some (but not all) of the fat. Removing too much fat creates an unnatural appearance. The remaining lower edge of the incision is then pulled upward and the incision is closed.
Outer thigh lift:
The outer thigh lift is also known as a bilateral thigh lift. Here, Dr. Krummen focuses on tightening the skin on the front and outside portions of the thighs. The first step is to make a V-shaped incision at the top of the leg near the hipbone, where it can be effectively hidden beneath the panty line. The incision length can vary, depending on the patient’s unique situation. In some cases, Dr. Krummen may take the incision all the way around the hip and even to the buttocks. Excess skin is trimmed and the remaining skin is pulled up and attached to the other side of the incision. Outer lifts can remove more tissue than an inner lift, plus they have the added benefit of lifting the buttocks along with the thighs
What will recovery be like after a thigh lift?
This is not a slam dunk, easy recovery. Thigh lifts remove a fair amount of skin, so the recovery takes some time — most patients need around three weeks off work. Due to the tissue excision and subsequent re-draping, a full week of bed rest could be necessary. The key is to limit any pressure on the thigh tissue, all of the thigh tissue. This dramatically speeds your recovery. Any kind of squatting, strenuous activity, climbing stairs, and things like that are out of the question. For the first few days, the only walking you should do is to the bathroom. Obviously, you will need help around the house.
Your thighs will be bandaged and on top of the bandages will be compression garments. In the beginning, the compression will hold your sutured incisions tightly in place, so they do not move or strain. As your recovery progresses, the compression garments will help your skin and support tissues tighten down and adapt to their new slimmer contours. You will need to wear compression garments 24 hours a day for one full month.
You cannot sit down for two weeks to keep pressure off of your sutures. After a week, you will be able to walk around the house slowly, but driving will not happen for at least three weeks. After about six weeks you can resume most normal activities, but you will still need to avoid squatting as much as possible for a while longer.
How soon will I see my results?
The changes made by Dr. Krummen are immediately visible, although between your bruising and swelling they will not look like much initially. Plus, remember your thighs will need to be in compression garments full time. The tissue repositioning involved with a thigh lift can create swelling that tends to endure, especially at night after you have been on your feet a fair amount during the day. Some patients can take up to one year for their thighs to completely recover. Still, when the swelling has passed and your scars start to fade, you willl love your slimmer, contoured thighs.
Will I have noticeable scarring from a thigh lift?
You will have scarring. Any time human skin is cut, a scar is the result, and thigh lifts involve some significant incisions. Dr. Krummen does everything she can to place the incisions in natural creases or where they can be hidden beneath underwear or a bikini bottom. The scars will be red for weeks, but then they will begin the process of lightening and will become far less noticeable. If you can keep the sun’s rays off of your incision scars, they will lighten and fade more quickly.