Excess fat, relaxed skin, flabby muscles: these are the problems that often strike the inside of the arms, especially after the age of 45. Just think that, from the age of 30 onwards, the amount of collagen present in the derma drops by 17% every ten years. Rapid weight loss or pregnancy can also have the same effect. The situation is worsened by continuous chafing of the skin against clothing and by the force of gravity, which drags the tissues downwards. But the alarm bells should start ringing when you lift your arms to the side and see flaps of skin hanging down, from underarm to wrist. This is when it’s time to see your cosmetic surgeon.
New “stimuli” for the skin
If the condition is still in the intial stages, the combination of two gentle but effective cosmetic surgical treatments may be sufficient: 3D polydioxanone threads (an extensively tested material which causes no allergic or similar reactions) and P.R.P. (Platelet Rich Plasma). 3D PDO threads are between 0.05 and 0.20 mm thick and come in variable lengths, created specifically for this part of the body. They restore tone and firmness to the skin on the arms, accelerating the production of collagen and elastin: introduced using very fine, painless needles, they create a sort of web under the derma. The specialist positions the needles and, consequently, the thread along the skin tension lines, defining a webbed structure capable of tightening up the tissues. To achieve the best results, several sessions, at intervals of approximately 3-4 months, are necessary. The patient can return to normal everyday activity immediately, the worst effect being slight bruising. The treatment leaves no wounds or scars.
At the same time, the result can be boosted using P.R.P. (Platelet Rich Plasma), a concentrate of autologous plasma containing 3-6 times more platelets than those in the standard bloodstream. This exploits the platelets’ capacity to produce, store and, when necessary, release growth factors.
Once the solution has been obtained, the specialist injects it under the skin with microinjections, at a distance of approximately 1-2 cm from each other. An anaesthetic cream soothes irritation and stinging. A slight “filler effect” is achieved immediately in the areas concerned, but more evident results appear within the space of about a month. Thanks to the stimulation of collagen and elastin, the skin looks brighter and more compact.
Permanent results with surgery
Is the sagging skin very evident? The only solution is to surgically lift the arms. Performed under local anaesthetic or sedation, the operation involves cutting from the underarm downwards, removing the piece of skin and excess fat, and then remoulding the arm to make it slimmer and younger looking. The area is medicated with bandages which are removed about a week after the operation, while the stitches are removed between the 7th and 15th day.
Scarring is unavoidable, and usually runs for about 10-12 cm from just below the underarm to just above the elbow, along the outside of the arm.
The patient can go home the same day or the day after, but it is best to avoid using the arms for at least 10-15 days, to prevent pulling on the wounds as they heal. The end result is not visible until the swelling goes down and the area treated softens up. This can take up to 3-5 months. A cycle of treatment with Icoone or Tecar® can encourage the reabsorption of any brusing and swelling.