Loose skin can develop on your upper arms as you get older or after a significant loss of weight, making you self-conscious in short sleeves or swimsuits. Unfortunately, no amount of exercise, dieting, or weight lifting can tighten this lax skin, which has simply lost its elasticity.
Brachioplasty or arm lift surgery at The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery can contour your upper arms so that they look trim, tight, and youthful again. This is a common procedure after post-bariatric surgery.
We customize every arm lift based on your body and how you wish to look. Liposuction is used, if necessary, to remove any excess fatty deposits. Note that an arm lift is best performed on patients who are close to their ideal weight. If you plan to lose weight, you should postpone your surgery, as weight loss can cause the development of more lax skin in this area.
During your consultation, we will discuss your concerns about your appearance and your goals for your brachioplasty, as well as your medical history, medications you take, and previous procedures you have had. We will also answer all of your questions, explain what to expect from surgery, and tell you how to prepare for your surgery.
The Brachioplasty Procedure
An arm lift usually takes two to three hours. It can sometimes be combined with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck, as long as the total time of your surgery does not exceed 7-8 hours.
The incision is made on the underside of the arm, where it will be as long as the area of lax skin to be removed. For most post-bariatric patients, the incision runs from the elbow to the underarm. Since the scar is on the underside, it is not easily noticeable, and it will fade in time.
If necessary, liposuction is performed to remove excess fat. A cannula (tube) is inserted through the incision and attached to a suction device that extracts the fatty tissue. The excess skin is excised, and the skin is pulled tighter for a smoother, slimmer contour.
Preparing for Your Arm Lift
Please avoid taking Advil, Aleve, aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, and Naprosyn for two weeks prior to your surgery. High dose vitamins and herbal medications should also be avoided. Most other medications that you take regularly can be taken before your procedure. It is especially important to take blood pressure medication so that your blood pressure remains normal during surgery.
Your arm lift will be performed either in our office or at the outpatient surgery center. Be sure to have someone available to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours, as you will be drowsy from the anesthesia.
Recovering from Brachioplasty
Your arms will be wrapped in ace wraps for a period of time to minimize swelling. Drains will also be placed in the incisions. These collect fluids as you heal and will be removed within one to two weeks of your surgery.
Some bruising, swelling, soreness, tightness, and itching are normal after a lower body lift. You can take medication, if necessary, to ease discomfort, and Arnica Montana can help to minimize bruising. These symptoms will gradually subside during the weeks following your surgery. Most patients take two weeks off from work to recover. You should be able to shower within two to three days of your surgery.
Please avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for four to six weeks. Full results from your surgery can take 4-6 months to be visible.
Your brachioplasty is permanent, but fatty deposits and lax skin can develop again on the upper arms. Maintaining a steady weight can help to sustain the outcome.