Arm Lift – Brachioplasty
An arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure performed to remove excess fat and skin from the upper arms for a more toned, slimmer appearance. Over time, the soft tissue in the upper arm becomes lax and may begin to droop and sag, resulting in arms that appear loose and hanging. Many patients who are interested in brachioplasty are displeased with the appearance of sagging upper arms, and seek plastic surgery to restore thinner, more youthful arms.
The arm lift procedure is ideal for patients who have a significant amount of excess, hanging skin or extra fat in the upper arm area, maintain a stable weight, and have realistic expectations for surgery. It is also important that patients are healthy overall, with no major medical conditions that may be affected by surgery.
During the arm lift procedure, an incision is made in order to access the fat under the skin and to remove redundant skin. The incision is either limited to the underarm area or hidden along the inside of the upper arm, extending from the underarm towards the elbow. Excess fat from the upper arm may be removed using liposuction circumferentially; excess skin is then trimmed, and the remaining skin is tightened and sutured into place. Once the fat is removed and skin smoothed, the incision is closed with resorbable sutures that will gradually be reabsorbed by the body.
For patients with only a small amount of loose skin, a short scar or minimally invasive arm lift procedure may be indicated. This type of arm lift surgery requires a short incision near the underarm area and permits limited removal of fat and tissue. For patients who have more significant amounts of unwanted arm skin or fat, better results may be obtained with more extensive surgery. Dr. Hutchinson will determine which surgical option is best for you after a physical examination and discussion of your individual goals for cosmetic surgery.
Brachioplasty is performed under local anaesthesia with sedation. or “twilight” anaesthesia, and usually takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on the extent of the surgery. Some patients may benefit from additional body contouring procedures which are often performed concurrently, such as liposuction, abdominoplasty, or breast enhancement.
Recovery and Results from Brachioplasty
After an arm lift procedure, patients will often experience some swelling and bruising, as well as mild discomfort that can be managed with pain medication prescribed by Dr. Hutchinson. Compression garment or bandages may be recommended in patients who have undergone extensive liposuction of the arms as part of their brachioplasty.
The results of an arm lift are visible right away, but will continue to improve as swelling and bruising subside, which occur over the course of several weeks. Appropriately selected patients are highly satisfied with the results of their arm lift procedure and are happy to achieve thin, youthful-looking arms. Scars will continue to fade over time and become increasingly less noticeable, and results are expected to last for many years after surgery.
Risks of Brachioplasty
While an arm lift is considered a very safe cosmetic procedure, there are certain risks associated with any type of surgery. These are rare and may include infection, bleeding, unsightly scarring, or asymmetry. Dr. Hutchinson will discuss these risks with you, as well as address any concerns you may have, prior to your brachioplasty surgery.
The Arm Lift Patient’s Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Am I a good candidate for brachioplasty?
A: Brachioplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to improve the contour of a patient’s arms by addressing the following issues:
- loose, hanging upper arm skin, called “bat wings”
- excess upper arm fat creating unshapely arm contour
- lack of muscle definition due to extra fat on the upper arms
- stretched out arm skin after massive weight loss from diet or gastric bypass surgery
- thin, crepey excess upper arm skin due to aging
Q: What should I expect during my arm lift consultation?
A: Your initial consultation with Dr. Hutchinson includes the following:
- a comprehensive in-person discussion with Dr. Hutchinson during which she will obtain your medical history and you will have time to explain what bothers you about your arms and what results you hope to achieve with aesthetic surgery
- after your conversation, you will be seen in a private examination room where she will perform a detailed physical examination and assess your unique physical characteristics
- she will also take medical photographs which provide additional information when discussing your arm plastic surgery
- following your examination, Dr. Hutchinson will explain surgical options, determine the best customized surgical plan for you to achieve your goals, and review your medical photographs with you
- Dr. Hutchinson will also provide you with specific details regarding the bespoke brachioplasty operation she creates for you as each patient’s plan is based on individual features and desired outcome
- she will also inform you of what is required from you before and after your cosmetic surgery to ensure a successful operation and smooth recovery
- you will be given ample time to ask any questions you have in order to feel comfortable with your decision
- you will also have an opportunity to schedule your plastic surgery once you have decided to proceed
Q: How will my arms look after my arm lift surgery?
A: Brachioplasty is a plastic surgery that contours arms for both men and women by removing loose skin and fat in the arms to produce more youthful, better defined arms. In order to help you understand what results are attainable with your arm lift, Dr. Hutchinson will discuss with you specific details of your current physical characteristics. Factors that may impact your results include the following:
- the amount of loose, excess skin that needs to be removed
- amount and distribution of extra fat that requires treatment
- quality, tone, and elasticity of arm skin, including presence of stretch marks
- prior surgery and pre-existing scars on the arms
Q: How should I prepare for my arm lift surgery?
A: Dr. Hutchinson provides her patients with detailed and precise instructions to be followed prior to their brachioplasty, which include the following:
- Dr. Hutchinson will make recommendations for each patient including:
- advice on appropriate weight management, diet, and nutrition
- requirements for medical clearance and bloodwork prior to surgery
- patients should be active participants in optimizing their wellness, including:
- maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise
- avoiding smoking
- not taking medications that can increase risk of complications
Q: What should I expect after my arm lift surgery?
A: Every patient will have their own personal experience and recovery after brachioplasty, although some common aspects of their post-operative course include the following:
- removal of loose skin and fat cells is immediate and permanent
- some discomfort, swelling, and bruising are normal in the first few days after surgery
- you should wear the compression garment provided to speed recovery
- it is essential you refrain from strenuous physical activity after surgery and closely follow the detailed instructions provided by Dr. Hutchinson
- final results depend on your body healing and your skin recontouring after the operation