Reshape Your Arms with an Arm Lift
Significant weight loss, repeated fluctuations in weight, the natural changes that occur with aging, heredity, or a combination of these conditions can cause the skin of the (upper) arm to become so stretched that it looses the ability to retract—resulting in a droopy, sagging, bat wing-like appearance. These conditions may develop in either men or women. Exercise may strengthen and improve underlying arm muscle tone, but it cannot correct the excess skin that has lost elasticity, the underlying weakened tissues, or localized fat deposits. If the underside of your arm has developed loose sagging skin, or appears loose and full due to excess skin and fat, an arm lift may be right for you.
An arm lift, also called brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that reshapes the medial portion of the arm, from the underarm (axilla) to the elbow; it tightens and smoothes the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the arm, and reduces excess sagging skin that droops downward. In addition, any localized pockets of fat in the arm may be reduced with liposuction. An arm lift results in a more toned and proportionate appearance, enhancing your self-confidence and expanding your fashion choices. The trade-off to your improved contour and image is a resulting scar on the inside of your arm.
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 on the inside of the arm. The incision usually extends from the underarm to the elbow. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as the preferences and surgical judgment of your plastic surgeon. Excess fat will be excised or treated with liposuction. The underlying supportive tissues are then tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. The overlying skin is then smoothed and tightened over the new contour of your arm. Your incisions are closed with absorbable sutures. The smoother, tighter contour is apparent almost immediately, although initially obscured by some swelling and bruising. Skin quality is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.
An arm lift cannot correct weakened muscles of the upper arm. In some cases, skin elasticity is so poor that a relapse of some of the skin laxity is possible. Although permanent, the resulting incision lines are generally placed within the natural arm contours, and are a fair trade off to achieving a body contour that matches your body weight and proportion.
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 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.
Post-Operative Instructions & Information for Brachioplasty
- Drains may be placed beneath the skin to reduce post-operative fluid accumulation. At discharge you will be given instruction regarding incision and drain care, and how you may bathe.
- Patients return to the doctor’s office at approximately 1 and 2 weeks, and 1 and 3 months, after surgery.
- Bruising resolves within 2 weeks after surgery. Residual swelling will remain for several weeks. Numbness can remain for 1-4 months.
- A few sutures may need to be removed 1-2 weeks after surgery. Most sutures are dissolvable and will release on their own.
- Avoid strenuous activities for approximately 3 weeks after surgery. Your doctor will instruct you when you may begin a gradual return to activities. Patients usually return to unrestricted activity by 6 weeks after surgery.
- Time off work depends upon your job requirements, but will be at least 1 week after surgery.
- Patients are required to wear some compression around their arms after surgery. A compressive sleeve is usually used beginning about 2 weeks after surgery to continue to reduce swelling and to improve the final contour; this may be worn for 4-6 weeks depending upon your recovery.
- Scar massage and other techniques may be employed to help reduce and improve scarring for several months following surgery.