Arm Lift

1 What is an Arm Lift?

Also known as a brachialplasty, an arm lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the under portion of your upper arms.

During an arm lift, surplus skin and fat are removed from the underarms, between the armpit and elbow.

The skin is then draped back over the newly repositioned contours to create a more tone appearance.

You might consider having an arm lift if the undersides of your upper arms sagging.

An arm lift might also boost your overall image.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo an arm lift procedure.

With age, the skin on your upper arms changes (saggs and becomes loose).

Significant weight loss can also cause the undersides of your arms to drop. While exercise can strengthen and improve your muscle tone in the upper arms, it cannot address the excess skin that has lost its elasticity. An arm lift is not for everyone.

Your doctor might caution against an arm lift if you:

  • are overweight
  • have fluctuations in your weight
  • have a medical condition that interferes with wound healing, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • if you are a smoker

3 Potential Risks

An arm lift is accompanied by various potential risks, including:

  • Scarring left by incisions made during the procedure
  • Asymmetry in the shape of your arms which occurs as a result of changes that take place during the healing process

Changes in skin sensation can also be experienced as the repositioning of your arm tissues during the procedure can affect your nerves.

Problems with your stitches can also arise. Stitches that are used to secure the arm's new shape might work their way to the surface of the skin and need to be removed. This can lead to inflammation of the affected skin and as a result, additional surgery.

Like any other form of surgery, an arm lift is accompanied by the risk of bleeding, infection and a possible bad reaction to anaesthesia.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

Primarily, you will talk to a plastic surgeon about an arm lift.

Required preparation for your arm lift procedure includes:

During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely

  • Review your medical history, and ask you questions about any current and past medical conditions.
  • He or she will also do a physical exam of the undersides of your arms to determine your treatment options.
  • You will also have to discuss your expectations. Make sure you comprehend the benefits and risks, including scarring.

Prior to an arm lift, you might also need to

Stop smoking as it decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.

You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.

Make plans for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you as you begin to recover.

5 What to Expect

This procedure can be done in a hospital or an outpatient facility. In some cases, the procedure is done with sedation and local anaesthesia, which numbs only part of your body. In other cases, general anaesthesia is recommended.

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your arm lift procedure.

The following happens during the procedure

Your plastic surgeon will make incisions on the underside of your arms. The length and pattern of the incisions depend on how much skin has to be removed. After the incisions have been made, the plastic surgeon will tighten your underlying tissues and secure them with stitches.

He or she might also use liposuction ( a technique to remove fat). This procedure usually lasts for one and a half to two hours.

After the procedure

Following an arm lift, your incisions will be covered in bandages. Your arms will be loosely wrapped in elastic bandages, this is done to reduce swelling. Small tubes might be placed in your arms to drain any excess blood or fluid. You'll likely see your plastic surgeon within a day or two after your arm lift.

He or she may remove your bandages and a drainage tube. You will likely have to wear a compressive sleeve or bandage for a few weeks after the surgery.

In the first few days after an arm lift

Avoid lifting your arms above shoulder level. Avoid forceful activities with your arms that would stretch the incisions for about six weeks after surgery. Take pain medication as needed and antibiotics to prevent wound infections.

Talk to your doctor about when, or if, your stitches will be removed. Some stitches dissolve on their own. Others must be removed in the doctor's office in the weeks after the procedure.

You can resume light aerobic exercise as soon as you feel up to it. However, you will need to restrict exercise and other activities that would stretch the incisions and could cause them to separate.

Generally about six weeks after surgery it's safe to resume all activities, but check with your surgeon about specific recommendations for you.

Your doctor will likely recommend applying sunscreen to your incisions for the next six months or until pinkness fades to prevent dark discoloration. Be sure to carefully follow his or her directions.

After an arm lift, contact your doctor immediately if you have:

6 Procedure Results

The results of an arm lift procedure will be given by your doctor.

By removing loose skin, an arm lift can give your upper arms a more tone look.

They are also typically long lasting. Remember, however, your skin will eventually lose some firmness as you age and some sagging might occur.

Maintaining a stable, healthy weight can help you retain your results.