Even after you have undergone weight loss surgery and lost a significant amount of weight, you might not start to feel good about your body right away. Excessive weight loss leaves a lot of hanging skin and many bariatric patients opt for arm lift after weight loss surgery.
When looking at the flabby skin on your arms, the first question you ask is: Will insurance pay for arm lift?
The answer is NO, even if it looks so bad that your arm movement is restricted because of the hanging skin. There have been a few odd cases of insurance paying for arm reduction or arm lift surgery but I only read about them over 5 years ago and if you are looking for affordable arm lift today, the best option would be to go overseas.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, as more people undergo bariatric surgeries, even more end up getting cosmetic surgeries.
“It was hard for me to exercise. I couldn’t do aerobics or even run because the excess skin was so bad, and no amount of compression would change that,” said Jan O’Daniel of Pickerington, Ohio, in a press release issued by the ASPS.
O’Daniel underwent bariatric surgery and lost a whopping 130 pounds; she obviously had a lot of sagging skin after the underlying fat melted away.
The issue is so common that some doctors now suggest that bariatric surgery is not the final answer but just one step in the process. They advise that cosmetic surgeons should be involved from the beginning.
Do I qualify?
To plan an arm lift surgery after weight loss:
- You should not be losing any more weight as that could reverse the results of your bariatric surgery
- You should have excessive fat or lose skin on your arms that cannot be managed with exercise. (Usually, the sagging skin left after massive weight loss cannot be corrected with any amount work out)
- You must have healed well and resumed your normal life after bariatric surgery and be eating a healthy diet now
- You should not be a smoker or substance abuser
- You should be in general good health and have realistic expectations from the surgery.
Upon examination, the surgeon will provide you an idea of what you should expect from the surgery and how to prepare for it.
How much will arm lift cost?
The average cost of arm lift in the US is around $6,000 – $11,000
In the UK, you could get an arm lift for $7,500, while Australians can get cosmetic arm surgery for $7,000. However, this does not include the hospital costs or anesthesia fees, which will amount to another $6,000 approx.
Even if that seems out of your financial means, you do not have to give up on toned arms. You can easily get affordable arm lift overseas performed by an equally qualified, and perhaps a more experienced surgeon, and save up to 80 percent in treatment costs. Arm lift in India would cost you only around $2,500, while arm reduction surgery in Thailand would cost around $3,600.
Arm lift costs in Malaysia start around $3,000, and in Mexico, it starts as low as $1,800.
Wherever you choose to go, it is important that you do not make your decision based on the cost alone. Often, a more experienced surgeon will charge slightly higher, but that extra cost is worth the safety and comfort of knowing you are in skilled hands.
Preparing for arm lift after weight loss surgery
Arm lift is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic operations for patients for bariatric surgery.
It is imperative that you reach a stable weight before going for any cosmetic surgery after your bariatric surgery. If you continue to lose weight after your arm lift, your skin may become lose again as the underlying fat is lost.
- Finalize on your destination and hospital for arm lift surgery abroad
- Learn about the doctor and have all your questions and concerns addressed before you finalize
- Plan 2-3 weeks of stay at the destination to recover after your arm lift surgery
- If possible, ask someone to accompany you. Having company on a medical trip is always helpful
- Stop taking blood thinners or any medications that may complicate surgery results
- Although your bariatric surgeon may already have barred you from it, if you are still smoking you should stop atleast six weeks before the surgery
- Eat more protein and keep yourself well hydrated
Recovery and aftercare
The surgery should take about 2-3 hours, during which you will not feel anything as you will be under sedation. However, as the effect of anesthesia wears off you will feel pain and soreness in both arms.
While recovery process depends upon each patient’s own healing capacity, health, and habits, the general recovery pattern is as below:
- Both your arms will be bandaged and you will have drains coming out of the surgical wounds on both sides.
- You will be mostly on rest on the day of the surgery with your arms slightly compressed in a special garment.
- The next day, lifting your arms and slight movement around the room will be encouraged.
- Painkillers and antibiotics will be administered as required.
- The pain will subside in 2-3 days and you will be allowed to leave the hospital.
- You may sponge the area lightly but it is important to keep the wound clean and dry for the next few days.
- Swimming, hot tubs, long baths are all to be avoided until the wound has healed completely.
- The scars in arm-lift are placed strategically and fade gradually over time; you can start using scar gel with your doctor’s approval around 2 weeks after the surgery
- While you can return to work 2-3 weeks after the surgery, you must avoid strenuous exercise and any physically demanding job.
- It will take around 6 weeks until your healing and recovery is complete and you can totally ease back into your old routine, only with better arms.
Make sure to take contact information of your surgeon or his assistant, so you can contact them immediately in case of any problem.
You will be given a detailed set of instructions to take care of your surgical wound and if you follow the surgeon’s directions for healing and recovery, you should not have any complications and can return home happy with your toned arms.