The skin of the arms loses its firmness with age, becomes limp and saggy. The problem with the appearance of the arms can also be caused by substantial weight loss. Regardless of the cause, the effect is the same: skin that is lacking in firmness, wrinkled, and visibly sagging. You can change the style and dress only in long sleeves to cover up the defect, you can also come to terms with this state of affairs and function as if nothing had happened, or you can undergo plastic surgery of the arms – the arm lift.
What is the Arm Lift procedure?
Arm lifting, or medically known as Brachioplasty, is a surgical cosmetic procedure that is most often performed on people after significant weight loss, which often causes sagging skin in this area and the appearance of an unsightly fold of the skin. The procedure is also performed on overweight people whose fat distribution around the arm is unfavorably arranged, giving the impression of a hanging fold. Brachioplasty aims at reducing the excess skin from the underarm, tightening and smoothing the tissue in the process, and extracting fat.
Our genetic predispositions are highly responsible for the fat distribution, and the effects of the natural aging process contribute to the overall aesthetic condition of our arms. Unfortunately, exercise may be an insufficient option for toning specific parts of the body. If that is the case, you might benefit from an arm lift.
How should I prepare for the Arm Lift procedure?
The arm lift is a relatively safe procedure, but there are key elements that may help you prepare for surgery to minimize the risk of possible complications. If you are a smoker, you are most likely classified as a higher-risk patient for any invasive procedures, including the arm lift surgery. Smoking is known to be the causing factor of slow wound healing, which consequently increases the risk of infection. Quitting smoking a month or two before the scheduled surgery will significantly reduce the probability of complications.
Upon the initial consultation, your doctor will explain all risk factors and answer the questions you might have about the procedure. The plastic surgeon will perform a thorough assessment and decide whether or not you qualify for the surgery, taking everything related to your health under consideration. You should undergo a pre-operative examination, including blood or urine tests, to rule out possible underlying medical conditions.
During the evaluation, you may be advised to stop taking certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a few weeks before the procedure.
The Arm Lift Procedure – What to expect?
There are multiple methods to approach the arm lift surgery, including the type and position of incisions. Your surgeon will mark your arm, indicating the points of planned incisions. The most prevalent surgical cuts involve the back or the inside of your arm. The doctor may opt for an armpit incision depending on your unique arm proportions and the goal of the lift.
First, liposuction may be performed in the area of the skin fold. Liposuction is designed to remove fat from the vicinity of important systems such as lymphatic blood vessels and nerves in order to save as many lymph vessels as possible during resection of the skin flap and to highlight vital structures. In the case of very slim patients, only a cutaneous flap can be resected. Making incisions on the previously made marks, your surgeon will first contour the upper arm by modifying its tissue. The wound may be closed with subcutaneous absorbable sutures, so there is no need to remove them.
The arm lift procedure involves local or general anesthesia – the type is determined by your overall health, the surgical method, and general preference. Liposuction may be used to extract excess fat pockets. The procedure takes approximately three hours.
The Recovery Period
The entire recovery process involves, on average, six weeks, where it is estimated that you can return to your regular activity level. The downtime takes about two weeks, after which you can resume some of the daily activities. During the recovery, you might be instructed to wear a specialized compression garment to help the wound heal and minimize swelling. A drainage tube inserted by your surgeon will help drain any accumulated fluids. Always follow the postoperative care instructions provided to you by the surgeon to minimize the risk of possible complications. Over-the-counter painkillers or prescribed medications will ease the pain and discomfort while you’re recovering. As with preparing for the surgery, avoid smoking tobacco products as they inhibit the wound healing process and may be a cause of other complications.
Am I the right candidate for the procedure?
General good health and nonsmoking status are the significant indicators that you qualify for the procedure. If you are going under the knife because of major weight loss, it is essential to maintain that healthy weight you worked so hard for in order to enjoy your beautiful arms for a long time or even permanently.
What are the possible complications of the Arm Lift procedure?
The procedure is safe and rarely causes any major complications. Be aware of scarring on the inside of the arm. In some cases, the scar may become stretched or enlarged. Other complications include wound dehiscence, infection, or hematoma. Very rarely, lymphotoxicity may occur if the lymphatic vessels are damaged.
How long does the effect of the Arm Lift last?
How long the effect of the treatment lasts depends on many factors, including the individual characteristics of each patient. For some, an arm lift will last a long time, even permanently, and for others, it may wear off over time. The durability of the treatment will be influenced by determinants, such as the patient’s age, lifestyle, skin elasticity, and weight fluctuations. With proper eating habits, regular physical activity, and adequate arm care, you can enjoy slender benefits for a long time.
Is the procedure safe?
Surgical arm modeling is performed only by qualified plastic surgery specialists. Before the patient is classified as suitable for the procedure, the doctor orders several necessary tests and conducts a detailed interview with the patient. Operating rooms, post-operative care, and equipment at our disposal are fully adapted to carrying out procedures that are safe for the health and life of patients.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arm Lift
Am I a good candidate?
If you are a non-smoker, are in relatively good health, have loose skin and excess fat located in your upper arms, and are able to maintain a stable body weight, then you are a good candidate for brachioplasty. Patients interested in an arm lift should be within 25 pounds of their goal body weight, as future weight loss can lead to more excess skin. We will determine if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure after an in-person evaluation.
Can I drive following brachioplasty surgery?
You will need to wait several days or about one week before resuming driving. We ask that all patients arrange for someone to drive them home following surgery. Make sure you have a friend or family member ready to provide transportation while you continue to recover in the first couple of weeks.
Can BodyTite treatment be combined with other procedures?
Yes, BodyTite can be combined alongside with other body sculpting procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation, abdominoplasty and buttock augmentation.
How long do BodyTite results last?
While maintaining a healthy and stable body weight, patients can expect to see fat loss and skin tightening results in their body for future onwards.
How soon after a brachioplasty can I get my incisions wet?
You can take a shower once your surgical dressings have been removed, about 24 to 48 hours following surgery. We ask that patients wait two to four weeks before bathing or going swimming, as submerging the incisions in still water before they have healed can lead to infection.
Can brachioplasty be combined with other procedures?
BYes, brachioplasty is often one step of a comprehensive procedure toward total body rejuvenation. We regularly combine brachioplasty with tummy tucks, inner thigh lifts and other procedures. If you are interested in addressing multiple areas of concern, then let us know during your initial consultation and we will create an individualized treatment plan.
What kind of scarring can I expect?
Scarring is an unfortunately inevitable part of brachioplasty surgery. Brachioplasty incisions typically extend horizontally across the inner arm, spanning from the underarm toward the elbow. Your scars will be concealed with your arms by your sides or when wearing a long-sleeved shirt but may be visible should you expose your arms while wearing a swimsuit or other types of clothing.
How long do results from a brachioplasty procedure last?
Results following brachioplasty are lifelong. So long as you maintain a healthy body weight, you can expect to enjoy your slimmer arms well into the future. Further weight gain can stretch your skin, while weight loss can lead to the development of more loose skin.