Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
Brachioplasty (arm lift) is a surgical procedure performed to remove the loose, hanging skin that often develops on the underside of the upper arm as a result of aging or weight loss.
Candidates for an Arm Lift
Brachioplasty is ideal for patients who have an excessive amount of hanging skin and/or fat on the upper inner arm. This is most commonly seen after patients have undergone a significant weight loss.
The Arm Lift Procedure
Excess fat is removed first by liposuction. An incision is then made along the inside of the upper arm; it often spans from the elbow to the armpit and sometimes within the armpit (depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed). We try to hide the incision as best as possible on the inside of the arm so that it is not noticeable. Excess skin is trimmed away, and the arm's underlying supportive tissue is tightened using internal absorbable sutures.
A brachioplasty is usually performed under general anesthesia. Patients are able to return home the same day as surgery.
Recovery from an Arm Lift
After brachioplasty, patients typically experience swelling and bruising, as well as mild discomfort that can be managed with oral pain medication. Compression bandages are usually worn in the early recovery period to promote proper healing.
In general, moving around and walking is permitted and encouraged early on. Walks for exercise are possible at about the 2 week mark. Jogging and more vigorous exercise is allowed at about 4 weeks. At 6 weeks, there are essentially no restrictions. However, Dr. Wanzel will guide you through a customized recovery depending on your exact surgery and how the recovery process is progressing.
Risks from an Arm Lift
Complications from arm lift surgery are thankfully quite uncommon. In addition to complications that can theoretically arise in any surgery, there are a few that are more specific to brachioplasties. Thickened scaring is seen in about five percent of patients. Seromas and hematoma are rare. Other complications include, but are not limited to infections and a small chance of temporary (most commonly) or possibly permanent decreased sensation in the skin of the inner arm or forearm.