What Is An Arm Lift?
An arm lift is a surgical procedure that reshapes the under portion of the upper arm, from the underarm region to the elbow. Technically called brachioplasty, the procedure is performed to:
Reduce excess sagging skin that droops downward when the arm is extended away from the body
Tighten and smooth the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm
In addition, any localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region may be reduced through brachioplasty, most commonly in conjunction with liposuction techniques. The conditions treated with brachioplasty may develop in both men and women most often due to a loss of elasticity in the skin and underlying tissue of the upper arm. This may be the result of significant weight loss and skin that has been so stretched it loses the ability to retract. Conditions may also result from the natural changes that occur with aging, heredity or a combination of these conditions.
An arm lift cannot correct weakened muscles of the upper arm; in fact many individuals who seek brachioplasty are relatively fit individuals who are bothered by a condition that cannot be corrected through exercise. In general, good candidates for an arm lift are:
Adults of any age whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight
Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic goals for what an arm lift can accomplish
Individuals committed to leading a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and fitness
My Arm Lift
An arm lift is a safe and satisfying procedure that can greatly improve the appearance of your upper arm. The procedure begins with an incision placed in the inside of the upper arm. The incision may extend from the underarm (axilla) to the elbow, or be more limited in length. If fat will be reduced during your arm lift, it will be excised or treated with liposuction techniques. The underlying supportive tissue is then tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Overlying skin is then smoothed over the new contour of your arm, with excess skin reduced. Your incisions will be closed with sutures that will be removed within 2-3 weeks following your arm lift. The trade-off to an improved body contour and image through arm lift is a resulting scar on the inside portion of your upper arm. In addition, uneven contours can develop in the arm following your brachioplasty. In some cases, skin elasticity is so poor that a relapse of the skin is possible.
Once your arm lift is completed, dressing or bandages will be applied to your incisions, and your arms may be wrapped in an elastic bandage to minimize swelling and to support your new contours as you heal. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood that may collect and will be easily removed a few days after surgery.
Progress and Healing
Following your arm lift, your arms will be swollen and bruised, and you will experience some discomfort. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. You will be instructed to keep your arms elevated for several days following surgery and return to light walking as soon as possible to minimize the potential for blood clots and other complications. You will also be instructed to avoid lifting or bearing any weight on your arms for several days to weeks. You will be ready to return to work and light, normal activities within a few days, as long as you do not engage in any lifting or vigorous exercise. Follow all instructions carefully, this is essential to the success of your outcome.
Your incisions will heal within 2-3 weeks, after which time sutures will be removed. Additional healing will continue for many weeks as swelling resolves and incision lines continue to improve. Numbness and firm feeling over the skin's surface will resolve over time. You must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process is fully completed or skin in the treated area may develop irregular pigmentation and scars may become raised, red or dark. It may take a year or more following a given procedure for incision lines to refine and fade to some degree. Continue to follow instructions and attend follow up visits as scheduled.
Results and Outlook
The dramatic improvement in arm contour following arm lift surgery can greatly enhance your body image. A smooth, toned arm that matches your body image and personal goals does, however, come with visible scars. This is a fair trade-off to achieving a body contour that matches your body weight and proportion. The results of arm lift will be long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness. However, most of your improvement should be relatively permanent.