- What Is an Arm Lift?
- Non-Surgical Arm Lift?
- Surgical Options for an Arm Lift
- Recovery from an Arm Lift
- Scars from a Standard Arm Lift
- Arm Lift Before-and-After Photos
What Is an Arm Lift?
An arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is a procedure that addresses the loose and hanging skin of the upper arms. A far more common problem nowadays, these “bat wings” are quite bothersome and a source of embarrassment for many individuals who have them. It is no wonder then that the popularity of this procedure has exploded over the last 20 years – with as much as a 4,000% increase.
A major reason for the skyrocketing requests for arm lift surgery relates to the obesity epidemic in this country. With substantial weight fluctuations as well as massive weight loss in those individuals trying to become healthier, redundant and drooping upper arm skin is an all-too frequent and undesirable consequence. Other common causes of this deformity are genetics, aging, smoking and excessive sun exposure.
Can Lax Arm Skin Be Treated Non-Surgically?
Unfortunately, exercising and weight lifting will not tighten the skin. Significant weight loss may possibly reduce the severity of the deformity. However, the only effective treatment for this problem is surgery.
What Are the Surgical Options for an Arm Lift?
There are a few different surgical options that can be considered for treatment of the “bat wing” deformity. Factors that would help determine what may be best for you include the magnitude of the deformity, degree of skin inelasticity, skin thickness, extent of fat deposition, tolerance of scars, lifestyle, health, smoking history and cost.
Listed in order from the least invasive to the most extensive, the following are the surgical options for an arm lift:
- Liposuction. Though liposuction of the upper arm does not technically constitute an arm lift, it can be employed to remove significant fat deposits which can lead to smaller, less droopy and more sculpted arms. With one or two tiny incisions along with minimal postoperative discomfort, a substantial improvement in the appearance of the upper arms can be achieved in the right situation.
- Mini Arm Lift. In situations of relatively minor drooping, this approach can yield contour improvements. This is accomplished through the excision of an ellipse or crescent of skin with the ultimate scar being relatively hidden in the armpit.
- Standard Arm Lift. This approach, which uses a “T” shaped incision extending from the armpit to the elbow, is by far the most common technique employed. It provides for three-dimensional improvements of arm contour and can yield outstanding results.
- Extended Arm Lift. In the presence of extensive skin laxity of the body (not just localized to the arm and often the consequence of massive weight loss), this approach takes the standard arm lift and extends it to the forearm, lateral chest or both in order to obtain a more global tightening and contouring of tissues.
Most commonly, these procedures are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient.
What Can I Expect During My Recovery From Arm Lift Surgery?
A soft and compressive dressing is usually placed at the time of surgery and kept on for a few days. This will then typically be replaced by compression sleeves which are to be worn as much as possible for around 1-2 months.
Discomfort following surgery can be expected to be relatively mild, though pain medication will be prescribed. Exertional activities should be avoided for around 3-4 weeks and reaching and stretching types of activities involving the arms should be minimized for closer to 6-8 weeks. Specific timeframes and restrictions will be individualized.
A scar gel will be started around one month and continued for around six months with full maturation taking up to a year to occur. The final results should be arms that are smaller, firmer, more sculpted and aesthetically pleasing in appearance.
What Will My Scars Look Like After a Standard Arm Lift?
The scars resulting from a standard arm lift are generally not invisible. For some individuals, they can be quite noticeable whereas for others they are not very conspicuous. Regardless, the trade-off for the scars are arms that can be far more normal, firmer, sculpted and appealing in appearance.
The bottom line is that the laxity has to be significant enough to make it worth the tradeoff of the scars resulting from a standard arm lift. That is a decision each person considering the surgery needs to make.
Dr. Steven H. Turkeltaub has helped many patients achieve dramatic results with arm lift surgery.
*Individual Results May Vary
*Individual Results May Vary
Interested in Arm Lift?
Contact our plastic surgery practice to schedule your consultation with Dr. Turkeltaub. We are dedicated to helping patient’s look and feel naturally beautiful.