Background: Popularity of arm-contouring procedures, once coveted by the massive weight loss population, has grown among society at large. The technique has evolved with the goal of producing a predictable and thin scar in a location that is acceptable for interpersonal interaction.
Methods: All consecutive brachioplasty patients from May of 2008 to May of 2013 were reviewed retrospectively at a private surgery center. Data collected included age, body mass index, amount of fat removed by liposuction, weight of resected tissue, hematoma or seroma, wound dehiscence, revision procedures, and length of follow-up.
Results: The authors reviewed 44 consecutive brachioplasties over 5 years. Average age was 53 years and body mass index was 26. Average amount of liposuctioned fat was 342 ml per arm using 867 ml of tumescent and an average skin specimen weight of 90 g. The follow-up period averaged 446 days. Fourteen patients had wound dehiscence requiring dressing changes. There were no return trips to the operating room for serious concerns such as bleeding or infection. One patient had a seroma. Nine patients underwent scar revision within 1 year. Overall complication rate was 50 percent. Overall revision rate was 21 percent.
Conclusions: Brachioplasty is a rewarding procedure with consistent results and low risk of major complications. The potential for minor complications is substantial, and patients should receive preoperative counseling regarding this risk. In the authors’ 5-year study of consecutive patients, 50 percent of patients needed dressing changes for small-wound dehiscence or scar revision within 1 year.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.