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Arm, thigh and buttock lifts

It is natural to want to look as physically fit as possible - and cosmetic surgery can help.


Images Courtesy of Dr Khosrow Matini - Before and after an arm lift.

Arm lift

As women approach their late thirties or early forties (and sometimes even earlier) the arms can begin to become “an issue”.

DiagramDiagram 02

Illustrations by Sandy Nern/Studio 8 Graphics

The diagrams show the difference surgery can make. There are three procedures that can improve the contour and shape of the arms: liposuction if the arms are fat and doughy; excision of excess skin; and a combination of excision and liposuction if both problems are present. The excision is a more complicated procedure than liposuction.

The procedure of an arm lift is relatively easy. The operation is done under IV (intravenous) sedation or general anaesthesia and lasts anywhere from two to four hours. The surgeon simply excises the excess skin and fat. These incisions are usually hidden in the inner arm area and extend from the elbow to the armpit. The incision is made with some curvature and in the shape of a "Z" to decrease the possibility of scar contracture or puckering. A curved Z-shaped incision also heals better than a straight line. The incision stops at the elbow and does not proceed down towards the wrist because the arm has numerous nerves, arteries, and tendons that need to be protected. The true arm lift can be combined with liposuction. During the recovery phase, the arms will be quite swollen for the first ten days and then gradually improve, with the final result evident within six to eight months. Post-operatively, patients will be required to wear supportive bandages for about four weeks. Most are happy with their results and care little about the incisions, which may take up to a year to really mature. They focus instead on the overall shape and size of their arms, and how well their clothes fit. They should now feel more comfortable in short-sleeved clothing.

Thigh lift

With its excess skin and fat, the thigh region droops more than any other area of the body. If liposuction cannot improve this area due to flaccid or weak (jiggly) skin, then the only practical option is a thigh lift. Cosmetic surgeons now have newer and more limited incisions for inner thigh lifts.

A medial inner thigh lift is usually performed under general anaesthesia. Liposuction is often used as an adjunctive procedure and can be performed either before, after, or during the operation. The patient is usually placed in the frog position, and an incision made as shown. The excess skin and fat is then removed, and the patient’s incision is closed with supportive sutures that dissolve after about four months. If the diameter of the leg is quite large, the incision may include a vertical portion to be continued down the leg toward the knee. The incision is designed prior to the operation, with the patient in the standing position and his or her feet approximately thirty centimetres apart. The surgeon will mark the area of redundant skin and fat.

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