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Shortly after Michelle Obama was introduced as our country’s new First Lady in 2009, the images of her attractive and muscular upper arms caused social media to erupt. Women across the country sought to emulate her, and develop arms like hers. Exercise and a proper diet, while a key to good health, do not correct the contour problems of the upper arm. The culprit is excess skin. Loose skin of the upper arms has been a complaint of many women. Genetics and age play a role, as does a history of weight gain, especially if followed by a weight loss. Liposuction, while very effective for spot removal of fat, does nothing to tighten the skin. Exercise, while great for muscle tone, has no effect on the loose skin.

As plastic surgeons we deal with “loose” skin on a daily basis. We are smoothing the neck and jawline of the aging face, taking away bags and heaviness of the eyelids, tightening the tummy after a woman’s last pregnancy, and lifting the breasts when they droop either because of genetics and/or pregnancy and breast feeding. Loose skin is the predominate factor in each of these conditions. “Tightening” the skin is akin to altering a garment that is too large for one’s body. In altering a garment the tailor opens a seam to remove the excess material and contour the material so that it “lies well.” In tailoring one’s body we remove excess skin by excising it, which leaves a scar. This scar is equivalent to a seam. As in tailoring, we want a smooth contour and a flat scar, preferably one that is hidden, just like seams on our clothing. Whether it is a facelift, Brachioplasty, tummy tuck, or breast lift, we can hide the scars well.

Returning to the upper arms, a common operation we do is the arm lift or Brachioplasty, an operation which can make a dramatic improvement of the upper arm contour. We are unable to hide the scar as well as we can with the other operations, so the operation is more of a “trade-off.” That is, the patient can experience a dramatic change in the arm contour but has to accept a scar line that is not as well hidden. Despite this, patients are very pleased with the results.

Not a long operation, it is usually done under general anesthesia, though can be done with sedation and local anesthesia. The recovery is fairly easy. Pain is not usually an issue. Patients can shampoo and shower the next day, drive in two days, and return to light office type work as early as one week.

Napa Solano Plastic Surgery is ready to help you look better and feel better about your body. Contact the professionals at Napa Solano Plastic Surgery for your free consultation and find out if Brachioplasty is the right for you.