Bye Bye Bat Wings - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Bye Bye Bat Wings

If you're a woman 30 to 50, chances are you know what bat wings are, drooping skin that hangs under your arms. Weight fluctuation, aging and heredity can all contribute to the problem, but as Janet Vasil reports, there's a fix.

4 years ago, Kathy Ross decided to get fit and lose weight. At 46, the mother of 4 and grandmother of 2.

But no matter how much she exercised and dieted, her arms were still flabby.

"We call them the wag, the wave, batwings, it depends upon how much it bothers you."

Kathy's sagging skin bothered her so much she avoided sleeveless shirts and arm exercises at the gym.

"I pretty much had that second wave, so when you go to wave my arm waved with me so I decided that I needed to get rid of that."

Gavin Dry is a board certified Plast Surgeon and Kathy's doctor. He says skin naturally expands and shrinks, but aging, sun damage and gravity can change that.

Dr. Gavin Dry, M.D., says "If the skin is loose and it's lost its tone, its elasticity, all of the diet and exercise in the world is not going to tighten up that skin, unfortunately."

The surgical solution is called an Arm Lift, or full Brachioplasty. Surgeons make an incision in the armpit which runs to the elbow along the inside of the upper arm. Extra skin is removed and the remaining tissue, pulled tight.

"For the majority of individuals the scar is hidden in the armpit and so that is a scar that heals incredibly well." says Dr. Dry.

These are typical bat wings before surgery. And this is 2 weeks after an arm lift.

"The only time you're gonna be able to see the scar even if it runs the length of the upper arm is when the arm is up in the air." says the doctor.

Kathy is no longer self-conscious about her arms and says she was back at work within 2 weeks of her surgery. This is Janet Vasil reporting.

The average cost for an arm lift is $3,000 to $5,000. It's an outpatient procedure and does include some pain, but recovery time is usually only a couple of weeks.

"Bat wings" refers to an excessive amount of skin under the upper arm area.
Excess upper arm skin can be removed with a procedure called, brachioplasty, or upper arm lift.
About 21,870 upper arm lifts were performed in the U.S. during 2007.
For more details, refer to our comprehensive research summary.

Online Reporter: Ashley Gatz

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