What is an Arm Lift Surgery?
An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that rejuvenates, reshapes and reduces the circumference of the upper arm by removing excess fat and sagging skin from the under a portion of the upper arm some call “batwing”. Often it is paired with liposuction to reduce the excess fat around the arm.
Although exercise strengthens and tones the underlying muscle of the arm, it cannot affect the loose skin when the skin has lost its elasticity due to drastic weight loss, aging or genetic predispositions.
Who is a good candidate?
You are a good candidate for an arm lift surgery if:
• You are not significantly overweight
• Your skin has lost its elasticity
• Your weight loss has been stabilized (losing weight after the surgery will negate the results of your treatment leaving you with more sagging skin)
• You are otherwise healthy and do not have a serious illness or medical condition that may impair the healing
• You are a Non-smoker or can abstain from smoking for at least three weeks before and after the surgery
• You have a positive outlook, with a clear and realistic vision of what you want the procedure do for you
• You are willing to keep up with a healthy lifestyle to keep the results of your procedure last long.
Brachioplasty surgery typically performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia depending on your health conditions and extent of the surgery. It takes one to two hours to complete.
When there is good skin tone or minimal skin sagging, fat deposits can be reduced by liposuction without the need for long incisions. However, when the skin has lost its elasticity like other Body Contouring surgeries the excess skin needs to be removed through long incisions that leave a scar behind. The shape and extent of the scar depend on your surgeon’s preference and the method employed for the procedure. There are three types of arm lifting procedures:
Extended Brachioplasty in which the incision is placed on the back of the arm up from elbow and down along the side the chest. Through this type of procedure, more skin can be removed making it suitable for post-dramatic weight loss.
Standard upper arm lift: the incision is slightly curved or z shaped extending from armpit to the elbow. Most arm lift surgeries leave this typical scar behind.
Mini arm lift in which the incision is much smaller and can be placed under the armpit. This type of procedure is done when the arms are only slightly out of shape.
Arm lift procedures are usually combined with liposuction for extra toning.
After your surgery, an elastic bandage or compression garment may be recommended for several weeks to reduce swelling and to provide support for your arms during the healing process. A thin short tube may be placed under the main incision to remove extra fluid from the wound. The healing process may take seven to ten days. You should refrain from arm exercises and heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks.
The results of Arm lift surgery are visible almost immediately. However, the swellings must subside before the true final results are achieved. Scars are permanent but should fade and flatten anywhere from three months to one year after surgery.
Though infrequent, complications may happen and they include: Fluid retention or excessive loss of blood and fluids, accumulation of blood and/or fluids under the skin(hematoma and seroma), infection, reaction to anesthesia medications, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lung), scarring (keloids), numbness or other changes in skin sensation, damage to underlying structures, or the need for a second reversionary operation persistent pain.
Hematoma and Seroma may require intervention to drain the blood or serum that is accumulated under the skin. There may be complications with the healing of the wound after surgery which may be exacerbated for smokers. All the possible risks will be discussed with you in your consultation appointment and before your surgery.