An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a procedure that removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the arms so that the arm becomes tightened and smaller in size. An arm lift is a very common procedure, especially for those who have lost a great deal of weight or whose skin has become lax and sagging due to the aging process. Most patients find that the excess skin not only looks unattractive but also gets in the way of wearing certain types of shirts. Often times, our patients tell us about their embarrassment in wearing sleeveless shirts because their arm skin sways from side to side and looks like “bat wings”. Additionally, they do not like the way the excess skin and fat folds under while wearing long sleeved shirts. A brachioplasty can resolve all of these issues for patients.
An arm lift is done under general anesthesia, or while the patient is asleep and fully anesthetized. The area is cleansed to help lessen the risk of infection from the skin incisions. The skin is marked with a felt tip marker to help the surgeon to plan for what tissue needs to be removed. The outer markings signify where the surgeon will join the two ends of skin back together to achieve the tightened, smaller arm size that the patient is looking for.
The incisions are placed where they can be hidden under the arms when resting on either side of the body. Depending upon the patient, the surgeon may use laser liposuction (our office uses SmartLipo) to remove excess fat from the arm before cutting away the skin. Next, the extra skin is removed from the center of the underside of the arm. Once that has been completed, the skin is joined together using dissolvable stitches and reinforced with surgical tape strips (or Steri-Strips) to assure that the tension in the incision is evenly distributed throughout the length of the incision. This will prevent tugging on any particular place of the incision.
Once the other arm is corrected, both arms are then wrapped in flexible bandage material (such as an ACE bandage). These bandages offer just the right amount of pressure to preserve the new placement of the skin as well as to reduce swelling. They must remain on the arms for several weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will help instruct you about how to bathe without getting your incisions wet until they are properly healed up.
Most patients recover quite quickly; feeling only slight discomfort after about 6-7 days post-surgery. They can return to work and light duty within the first week. The best part is that they no longer have to be embarrassed by excess skin and fat hanging down underneath their arms. We hear from patients all the time who are thrilled to be able to wear short sleeved and sleeveless clothing for the first time in years!
If you have lost a significant amount of weight, you may be considering multiple areas to lift on the body or perhaps a full body lift. Please see our Body Procedures Page for information about the other body lift procedures we perform.
Call us today or contact us online to come in for a free, private consultation to discuss whether an arm lift is right for you. We will take all the time you need to answer your questions and explain the procedure from beginning to end.