Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Patients seek help with their arms for several reasons: they are too bulky, the skin and soft tissues are too loose or the skin is wrinkled. The problem doesn't seem so bad when the arms are by their sides but quickly becomes apparent when the arms are raised or during sporting activities. Short sleeve shirts are often abandoned for less revealing longer sleeved attire.

This problem is most often seen following massive weight loss but may simply be a natural occurrence associated with aging. Managing this condition will depend upon the amount of both skin and fat. Minor cases are best treated with liposuction alone whereas patients with significant amounts of excess skin will require a localized lipectomy (removing excess skin and fat). These procedures are performed in a private operating facility on an outpatient basis. The procedure usually lasts from 1 to 1 1/2 hours and patients leave the private operating facility with only a light bandage on each arm. A swift and uneventful recovery following arm lifting allows most patients to return to work within a few days following surgery.

What can an arm lift do for me?

Every woman or man who considers having an arm lift has their own personal reasons. Most common of these is to simply feel better about themselves and stimulate a renewed sense of personal satisfaction. With normal aging or in association with weight loss, the skin and fat in the upper arm begins to sag. Patients complain about flabby skin becoming a source of embarrassment when wearing short sleeved shirts or tops. The excess tissue often feels heavy and uncomfortable. An arm lift will quite simply relieve patients of these feelings while improving the shape and contour of the arm region.

How is an arm lift performed?

The procedure varies depending upon the amount of excess skin and fat in the arm area. Patients with youthful skin but excess fat are best managed with liposuction alone. This is performed through very small incisions which are often hidden in creases or body holds. If there is excess skin it must be removed with surgery leaving a scar along in the inner aspect of the arm region. In some cases, both techniques are used.

Where is the scar located?

The scar from arm lift, when required, is on the inner aspect of the arm extending from the armpit area to varying distances down the arm. There is no scar on the outer more visible side of the arm. These scars are usually well hidden when the arms are against the chest but become more apparent in short sleeved tops when the arms are raised. Because of the necessity of creating a visible scar, the removal of the excess skin is most often reserved for patients with significant amounts of tissue only as is seen with massive weight loss.

Where is the procedure performed?

Most arm lift procedures are performed in a private operating facility on an outpatient basis. Occasionally this procedure is done in the hospital operating room and may require an overnight stay.

How long does the procedure take?

In most cases, this procedure takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

What kind of anesthesia will be required?

A light general anesthesia is the preferred method of anesthesia.

What will my arms feel like after surgery?

The arms will feel tight after surgery – this is normal. Once patients are more active in the coming days following surgery, this tightness begins to soften.

What will my arms look like after surgery?

Once healed, the arms will take on a more youthful appearance. The excess sagging tissue is removed leaving the arms with a more normal contour.

When can I resume my normal activities?

Most patients can return to light activity and work within a 2-3 days following surgery. Return to normal physical activity, including sports, is permitted after 4 weeks.

Can I have other procedures done at the same time?

Yes, patients frequently combine arm lifting with other cosmetic procedures like breast surgery, abdominoplasty, liposuction or thigh lifting.

Are there any risks to an arm-lift?

Generally, arm lifting or brachioplasty is a very safe and reliable procedure. During your office consultation, Dr. Zelt will discuss with you the associated risks and complications. Fortunately, most are very uncommon and the vast majority of patients enjoy an uneventful surgery and recovery period.

If you have any further questions about having a brachioplasty please contact our office and we can setup a consultation.