Overview of Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Another name for arm lift is brachioplasty. It is a procedure used to remove loose, saggy skin of the upper arm. Typically, it is most useful in patients who have undergone significant weight loss and are left with hanging skin that has lost its ability to shrink. It can also be used in older people whose skin is unusually inelastic and has become loose for reasons other than weight loss. It should be mentioned that this procedure is not for everybody as it tends to leave a thick, noticeable scar along the inside of the upper arm. Therefore, as with any procedure, you must weigh the pros and cons before you make a decision.

Benefits of Arm Lift

To the patient with a significant amount of loose, hanging skin, the arm lift can be an extremely satisfying procedure.

  • Arm lift is very effective at removing loose, hanging skin of the upper arm.
  • It can liberate the patient from being forced to wear baggy, long-sleeved shirts.
  • It can provide the confidence to wear more revealing eveningwear that would not have been considered prior to the surgery.
  • Aside from the cosmetic advantage, it can reduce arm diameter, allowing the patient to fit into shirts that were once too tight.
  • It can help reduce underarm rash.

Are you a good candidate for Arm lift?

The best candidate is the patient with a significant amount of loose upper arm skin without much fat. If, when you grab the skin of the upper arm and pinch it so that your fingertips almost meet, there is just a thin amount of fat in between, you probably are a good candidate. In an overweight patient, the presence of subcutaneous fat makes an arm lift impractical. In this case, liposuction would be a consideration. However, it must be mentioned that liposuction is not very predictable in the upper arm region. The ideal patients are those who have just lost a significant amount of weight and whose skin is not able to shrink.

Possible complications associated with Arm Lift

To address the most common complication after an arm lifting, a thick scar, the incision is strategically placed on the inside of the arm where most people cannot see it. Other complications include inadequate skin resection, contour defects, blood or fluid collection, and infection.

Anesthesia for Arm Lift

Typically, the procedure is done under general anesthesia. It can, however, be performed under local with sedation, depending on the amount of skin to be removed.

What to expect after
1. Immediately after surgery, some patients feel groggy or nauseous. These feeling normally subside by the next day.
2. Many patients experience some pain for the first 3-4 days and soreness for the first 2 weeks.
3. Swelling and bruising usually clears up within 2 weeks.
4. Scars will take 1.5 years to mature. They will be the most red at 8-12 weeks.
5. Rippling and unevenness around incisions is common. This will flatten out about 3 months.

Recovery Time after Brachioplasty

Typically, patients are able to return to work 1 week after an arm lift. If your job, however, requires strenuous arm movement, it may take 2 to 3 weeks before you are able to return.