Arm And Thigh Reduction

For patients who have successfully lost weight through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, long term satisfaction can be severely limited by excess skin and deflated tissue. The health benefits of losing weight are well known but the psychosocial improvement can suffer due to rashes, skin breakdown, poor clothing fit, poor self image and functional impairment.

Arm and thigh reductions are designed to tighten and lift the upper arm or thigh. No amount of physical exercise will correct this excess of loose skin.

Most patients require excision of skin and subcutaneous tissue for the optimal result. There is a trade off between contour and scars. To achieve the best contour, your surgeon may recommend scars of a significant length which may be visible without clothing.

If excess skin and subcutaneous tissue causes chafing, rashes, and difficulty with clothing fit you may be suitable for arm or thigh reduction surgery.

At your first consultation your surgeon will assess your suitability for arm or thigh reduction.  If you smoke cigarettes or have other medical problems which may impede wound healing you may not be suitable for this kind of surgery. Other serious medical problems can also preclude you from surgery.

For arm and thigh reduction to be covered under Medicare, you must have had significant weight loss (at least 5 BMI* points), skin irritation and rashes not responsive to 3 months of conservative treatment, the redundant skin must interfere with your activities of daily living and your weight must be stable for 6 months. 

*BMI = Body Mass Index = mass in kilograms / (height in metres)2

At your first consultation your surgeon will discuss your desires and concerns. Your past medical history and medications are also recorded and it is important to bring this information to the consultation. Your surgeon will record your body mass index and perform an examination. Photos may be taken for your medical records. We recommend that you have a second appointment before the surgery so that you have another opportunity to discuss any concerns with your surgeon. 

Following the surgery you will be required to stay in hospital for a few days. You will have surgical drains in place and wear a compression garment. It is important avoid any unnecessary activity for the first 2 weeks. Over this period it is okay to dress yourself, make a cup of tea and go to the toilet for example. It is not okay to drive. Gradually from 2 to 4 weeks you will regain your independence and increase your level of activity. By 6 weeks most people are able to resume more strenuous activity.

If you have an infection or problems with the wound healing, the amount of time spent convalescing is significantly increased. Allowances with work and other commitments should be considered.

The results of arm and thigh reductions are durable, however, there will be some changes to the contour and scars over time. If your weight changes, this will alter the contours and significant weight fluctuations can result in further redundant skin and soft tissue.

The risks and complications of arm and thigh reduction are not insignificant. General complications including bleeding (requiring a blood transfusion), infection (requiring hospital admission) and further surgery to address a complication can cause significant delays in your recovery and increased morbidity. At the time of your consultation your surgeon will discuss these complications with you.

When arm and thigh reduction surgery is undertaken and meets the suitability requirements according to Medicare listed above, the majority of the cost is rebatable through Medicare and standard private health insurance.  This does require a referral from your family doctor.  

After your consultation, a detailed quote will be provided to you including the surgeon fee, anaesthetic fee, hospital fee and support garments for your initial recovery.  

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Please be aware that all surgical procedures require a consultation with our plastic surgeons to allow a thorough assessment and discussion of your specific needs.