Simple Way to Get Smoother Arms - Arm Lift Explained

Posted October 14, 2021
How arm lift can smooth your arms

Brachioplasty, which is also known as an arm lift, is a cosmetic surgery that is performed to remove excess skin from the upper arm. Brachioplasty tightens the underlying and supportive tissue of the underside of the arm to give it a smoother look. An arm lift is commonly performed on patients who have lost a good amount of weight either by natural means, or weight loss surgery, and are troubled by skin that is loose and sagging. Interested in improving the appearance of the upper arm? Check out the brachioplasty rundown below.

Arm Lift Procedure - How it is Performed

At the start of the procedure, the patient is placed under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. The surgeon makes an incision on the inside or back of the arm that can extend from the underarm, AKA the axilla, to just above the elbow. The length of the incision, as well as the pattern of the incision, depend on the location and amount of skin to be removed by the surgeon.

If the patient needs additional fat removed beyond what was already lost during weight loss, excess fat can be excised or the surgeon can use liposuction to remove it. The surgeon will use internal sutures to tighten and reshape the underlying supportive tissue and close the incisions with either dissolvable sutures or removable stitches.

Brachioplasty - Ideal Candidates

An ideal candidate for an arm lift includes:

  • Patients who were considered somewhat obese but recently lost a good amount of weight (150 to 200 pounds)
  • Men or women with a significant amount of hanging skin on the upper arm 
  • Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery

Arm Lift Recovery and Results

Patients can expect to experience some pain in their arms for 24-48 hours after the surgery. The arms will be wrapped with a compressive garment and small drainage tubes might need to protrude from the incision site during the first week after the surgery. The tubes might be necessary to help excrete excess fluid and blood from the body for about a week. The compression garment must be worn 12 hours (or more) a day for the first three weeks. 

Patients can use their arms for light activities, such as computer usage, but they should keep the arms elevated as much as possible the first week after surgery. Most patients feel like going out in public a few days after the surgery. It is common for swelling to occur in the hands due to using the arms more frequently. About three weeks of recovery time is needed and patients should limit vigorous activities for approximately four weeks.

The results after an arm lift are seen almost immediately. The arms will be bruised and swollen but patients will be able to detect a smoother and tighter contour. It can take a full year to see the final results. There will be a visible scar, where the incisions are created, that can remain red for several months before fading to a pale pink. As the body ages, it is normal to lose some firmness in the arms, but the final results are permanent as long as the patient maintains a stable weight.

Limitations and Risks of Brachioplasty

Limitations of an arm lift include the fact that patients who do not want a noticeable scar along the arm may be limited from the procedure. In addition, an arm lift is limited to being performed in the region of skin it can tighten so it is not able to address loose skin on the forearm. 

The risks involved with an arm lift include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Seroma or fluid accumulation
  • Damage to blood vessels, nerves, and muscles
  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation
  • Fat necrosis or tissue death
  • Poor wound healing
  • Unsightly scarring

The Right Surgeon for an Arm Lift

Sagging skin on the arm skin is not a condition that can be easily resolved through regular diet and exercise. Brachioplasty is performed to remove excess skin and reshape the arm of a patient. Scheduling a consultation appointment with an experienced and board-certified doctor will help a patient determine if they are an ideal candidate for the procedure as well as the type of results they can expect to see. For the best possible outcome, patients should ensure that the surgeon specializes in arm lift surgery and performs the procedure on a regular basis.

The patient can ask to see "before and after" photos of actual patients treated by the doctor in order to see the type of results the surgeon has provided in the past. The consultation appointment is also an ideal opportunity for the patient to ask questions and address any concerns they have about undergoing an arm lift. Once all of the questions are answered and the patient feels confident about undergoing the treatment, the arm lift surgery can be scheduled.

- MA


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