Body Contour Procedures

Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Arm lift surgery (“brachioplasty”) removes excess skin and fat from the arms. It may be combined with liposuction of the arms to reduce arm fullness even further. Healthy people who have  “bat wings” or loose, sagging skin of the upper arms are candidates for brachioplasty surgery.  It is also popular for people who have lost a lot of weight.

Dr. Kunkel performs brachioplasty in a hospital or surgery center with the patient under general anesthesia. The procedure takes about 2 hours to complete and patients may go home the same day.  It is common to combine brachioplasty with procedures like a tummy tuck or breast lift.  Patients undergoing longer combined procedures often spend the night in the surgical facility.

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In the most common type of brachioplasty the incision begins near the elbow. The extra skin and fat are then removed all the way to the armpit and even a short distance across the armpit onto the upper chest. The scar that results is relatively inconspicuous on the upper inner arm and upper lateral chest.

The arms are swollen and a bit tight for a few days, but typically there is not much pain. Most people take one or two weeks off from work.  Strenuous physical activities like upper body CrossFit training should be avoided for about six weeks. Most brachioplasty patients wear compression sleeves for about two months after surgery.

Thigh Lift

thigh lift is performed to remove excess skin and fat from the inner thighs. Candidates typically have loose, droopy skin after significant weight loss due to diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. Thigh lift surgery is often combined with other body contouring procedures like breast lift surgery, helping the person re-gain a sense of proportion and balance of the overall physique.

Dr. Kunkel performs inner thigh lift surgery in a hospital or outpatient surgery center with the patient under general anesthesia. The operation typically takes about 3 hours to complete.

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In Dr. Kunkel’s most frequent type of thigh lift, skin and fatty tissue are removed from the inner aspects of the thighs.  Incisions are made from the knee to the groin crease.  The resulting scar is pink for several months.  The scar will be visible in shorts, but people who go through this operation are typically very willing to trade the scar for the significant enhancement in thigh shape and contour.

The legs are swollen, bruised, and tight for several days after thigh lift surgery.  Most patients don’t have much pain, however.  Usually people take about two weeks off from work. Compression garments are recommended for 2 or 3 months after thigh lift surgery. It’s best to wait about six weeks before resuming running and working out.

Back Lift

A back lift focuses on recontouring and tightening up the back by removing excess skin and fat. Due to aging, sun exposure or major weight loss, the skin of the back may begin to sag and bulge, creating unsightly lumps and rolls. This makes many people self-conscious even when dressed, as clothing often shows off every roll. A back lift procedure concentrates on the mid to upper back area and sides of the upper abdomen beneath the arms.

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This is a particularly difficult spot for women as these rolls of skin tend to surface above and below the bra line. An incision is made through which excess tissue is removed, smoothing the skin of the back for a much more toned appearance. The incision does form a thin scar, but this is easily concealed under a bra or bathing suit strap.

Performed under general anesthesia, most back lifts are outpatient procedures completed in one to two hours. Back lift surgery is an effective form of treatment for both men and women, and may be combined with other body contouring procedures to help patients achieve their aesthetic goals all at once.

What are the Benefits of Having a Body Contouring Procedure like a Thigh Lift?

Body contouring procedures aren't limited to liposuction and abdominoplasty. We regularly see patients whose concerns involve other areas of the body, such as their arms, back, or thighs. There are several benefits to be gained by addressing excess fat and loose skin in these areas. Some of the common advantages include:

  • A vastly improved sense of self-confidence
  • Increase in clothing options once body proportions are harmonious
  • Decrease in chafing and skin irritation
  • More ease in the area of physical activity and exercise
  • Easier, more effective personal hygiene due to the elimination of folds
  • Lasting results

Can I Still be a Candidate for a Body Procedure if I Smoke?

To be a good candidate for a body procedure like a thigh lift or arm lift, it's imperative that you commit to going at least several weeks of avoidance. This goes for smoking as well as nicotine consumption. Dr. Kunkel may advise you to stop smoking no less than six weeks prior to surgery and to maintain cessation for another six weeks after your procedure. This is because smoking and nicotine use can increase surgical risks and also impair your healing after surgery. The consumption of nicotine can increase your blood pressure and inhibit the full absorption of nutrients that are needed to help your skin heal after a lift. Furthermore, smoking and nicotine can accelerate the aging process, limiting the amount of time you get to enjoy the full effects of your new body contours. 

Are the Results of My Body Procedure Permanent?

An arm lift, back lift, or thigh lift produces results that are permanent because skin and tissue are trimmed to reduce sagging and sculpt a slimmer circumference. That said, the results of any lift can be affected by various factors. As you age, your skin will naturally loosen due to a loss of collagen and elastin. However, this tends to affect the results of a lift only to a small degree. The biggest contributing factor to your body procedure results is your weight. Provided that you attend to your diet and maintain a regular exercise practice, you can expect to enjoy enduring effects from your contouring surgery. 

What Causes the Arms to Become Full and Flabby?

The upper arms can be a difficult area to maintain with age and weight changes. These are the two primary factors that contribute to fat and flab in any area of the body. Often, even after massive weight loss, the upper arms hold onto small pockets of fat. The extra tissue volume may have stretched the skin and connective tissue to such a degree that they cannot completely bounce back naturally. The skin can only retract so much after weight loss because this process requires an abundance of collagen and elastin, which we simply don't have as we age. Furthermore, there are limitations to how much tissue can expand before it loses the ability to contract fully. The Brachioplasty procedure is an excellent option for addressing this hard-to-sculpt area. 

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