An upper arm lift or brachioplasty reshapes the upper arm to tighten loose skin and remove fat that often creates a “bat wing” appearance under the arm. Removing the excess skin caused by weight loss or natural aging can tighten loose skin that extends from the underarm area to the elbow; liposuction is sometimes used in combination to achieve the best results.
– You will look much better in form-fitting clothes.
– You will have increased confidence and a better self-image.
– You will be able to wear short-sleeve or sleeveless clothing without feeling self-conscious.
– You will have visible scars along the insides of your arms, extending from the armpit to the elbow.
– If your sagging under arm skin is not excessive, an upper arm lift may not be worth the resulting scars (in this case, consider limited-incision brachioplasty or liposuction).
– Your surgeon will not be able to predict exactly how your scars will look.
Am I a good candidate Arm Lift?
– You have lost the weight you desire, but are left with redundant underarm skin.
– You are an adult with significant upper arm skin laxity due to aging.
– Your weight is relatively stable and you are not significantly overweight.
– You are a healthy individual with no medical conditions that could impair healing or increase surgery risks.
– You are a nonsmoker.
– You are committed to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
About Your Procedure:
How is a arm lift procedure performed?
– Your surgeon will create markings on your elbows, arms and armpits. The location, length and direction of these incision lines will be dictated by the type of brachioplasty you will undergo.
– You will receive either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, based on your surgeon’s recommendation.
– Your surgeon will make the necessary incisions to remove excess skin and fat.
– The incisions may be completely concealed within the armpits or extended down the inside of the arms in the most inconspicuous locations possible.
– Your surgeon may use liposuction as an adjunct to remove excess fat.
– After the incisions have been made, your surgeon will remove the excess skin and fat and bring the incisions together to provide a firmer and smoother arm contour.
– Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm.
– Your surgeon will close the incisions carefully to minimize scarring. Your sutures may be placed beneath the skin, where they will be gradually absorbed by your body.
– A sterile dressing and a compression garment will be applied and drains may be placed.
The goal of your aesthetic plastic surgeon and the entire staff is to help you achieve the best result and make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable as possible.
What will my upper arm lift incisions and scars be like?
Because liposuction incisions are small, the scars are also small. Most liposuction scars fade and are barely perceptible over time.
Your scars will most likely be limited to the underarm areas.
Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow.
The standard brachioplasty incision is extended along the arm down to the body to correct loose skin and fatty tissue under the arm area.
Preparing For Your Procedure:
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon may ask you to:
– Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing.
– Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
– Be hydrated – regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
– Lose weight or make some lifestyle changes, do your best to achieve them to ensure the best results and minimize the chance of complications.
Aftercare And Recovery
Immediately after your upper arm lift
– You may be placed in a compression garment or wrap immediately following surgery. Wear this exactly as directed. Remove it only as directed for cleansing incisions or showering. You must have a responsible adult take you home and remain with you continuously for at least 24 hours after surgery. Although rare, emergencies do occur. You should have someone help you to the bathroom the first few times in case you experience dizziness or lightheadedness.
– Drink only liquids for the first few hours after surgery. Advance slowly to small, light meals. If you experience nausea or vomiting more than once, call your doctor. Excessive vomiting and retching can result in bleeding beneath the skin.
– Gently get out of bed as soon as possible after your surgery. Sit with your legs hanging over the edge of the bed or chair for a few minutes before standing. Begin to walk as much as possible as soon as you can, but do not exert yourself. Avoid strenuous activities that involve arm movement, such as raising your arms over your head or lifting. A balance of rest and reduced activity will speed up your recovery.
– You will have a mild to moderate amount of pain and discomfort. This should be easily controlled with oral medications.
– The discomfort and pain should begin to decrease within 48 hours after surgery. If you have a significant increase in pain after this period, call your plastic surgeon. Severe pain is rare; if you experience this, call the doctor immediately.
– Expect bruising and swelling. These symptoms will peak within the first 36 to 48 hours after surgery and will gradually subside over the next ten to fourteen days. To minimize swelling, sleep with your arms elevated with pillows for two weeks after the surgery.
Recovery time frame following an upper arm lift
You will need a few weeks to recover and heal from an arm lift procedure. It will be at least one or two weeks before you can return to work and about ten days before you can drive.
– During the first week, avoid activities that raise your blood pressure, which could cause bleeding at the operative site.
– Do not subject your incisions to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing.
– Walking is the safest exercise, especially during the first week.
– Avoid exercises that directly stress the area of your surgery for a full four weeks.
– After a month, you can start cardiovascular activities, such as riding a stationary bicycle or brisk walking.
– Avoid heavy lifting, contact sports and jogging for up to six weeks.
– By six weeks after your arm lift procedure, you should be able to resume your normal level of activity.
How Long Will My Results Last?
As long as your weight does not fluctuate, you should expect the results of your upper arm lift to last for many years. Your body will continue to age, including your skin. This may lead to loose skin in the future.
Limitations And Risks:
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
– Adverse reaction to anesthesia
– Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
– Infection and bleeding
– Changes in sensation
– Allergic reactions
– Damage to underlying structures
– Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures