Axillary fat pad excess is a common condition that affects women. Axillary fat or Accessory Breast is an extension of normal breast tissue from its upper and outer region as a thin tail to the Armpit. This tissue can undergo the same changes as the breast with puberty, pregnancy and lactation.
It can present as a lumpy mass in the Armpit which slowly grows over time. This causes discomfort and cosmetic concern for many women. It also makes it uncomfortable to wear fitting clothes, sleeveless tops and blouses. Many women also experience itching, sweating and stickiness in the Armpit. Pain and discomfort during menstrual periods can be a cause for concern in a few of them.
The axillary breast contains residual fibrous breast tissue and mostly fat. Based on the content of tissue in the swelling, either a vaser liposuction can be done to remove the fatty elements in the small to moderate swelling or may need a more complete removal / excision of accessory breast tissue if it is hanging down with excess skin. Removal of excess skin in the Armpit contours the shape better.
Axillary fat pad surgery can be done under local anesthesia or IV sedation so that you can sleep during the procedure. Patients will be discharged the same day after surgery after a few hours of observation in hospital.
A small 3 mm incision is made in the Armpit and tumescent fluid is injected to expand the fat cells. Following this the fat tissue is broken down and sucked out through a liposuction cannula. A compression dressing is applied after surgery to prevent accumulation of fluid and help the skin to retract to its original state.
In larger swellings needing removal of fat / breast tissue and hanging skin, a long incision is placed in the hidden areas of the arm pit. This procedure is also called axillaplasty. Removal of the excess skin gives a better contour of the Armpit. Wound is approximated with dissolvable sutures. A drain may also be placed to avoid any collection in the operated site.
You will feel some swelling, bruising and discomfort after the surgery which will last for 4-5 days. Painkillers are effective in the early postoperative period to reduce the discomfort.
In case of liposuction you will need to change the plasters at the small picture sites every day, and wear compression garments.
If you had an open surgery, you will have to visit your plastic surgeon for wound care or removal of drain. All the sutures are dissolvable over time.
Restriction of arm movements for the first 2 weeks until wound healing
Resume your routine work in 4-5 days time
Normal workouts and strenuous upper body activities like swimming and sports need to be avoided for 1 month
You will need to wear a compression garment for a few weeks to reduce the swelling in your Armpit
Driving your bike or car can be started as early as 2 weeks in open surgery and within 3-4 days in case of liposuction.
The results of Armpit fat pad removal surgery are immediate. However due to swelling, you may have to wait for a month or 6 weeks for the final outcome.
Side Effects and risks of Armpit fat pad removal surgery
It is a safe procedure if performed by Plastic surgeons with ample experience. Complications are extremely rare. It includes infection, delayed healing, wound dehiscence, seroma and temporary numbess in the inner arm. Scars are hidden in the axillary region and fade over time if precautions are taken for scar therapy. Avoid exposing the operated area to direct sun and apply sunscreen and scar reducing silicone gels.
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