An Arm lift or brachioplasty is a procedure that removes the excess skin from under the arm between the underarm (axilla) and the elbow. This skin can often sag after weight lost, repeated weight gain with lost or from aging skin that has lost its elasticity. Removal of this sagging skin reshapes the arm giving the arm a smoother contour with tighter skin.
The placement of the incision depends on the amount of skin that needs to be removed. The standard incision extends from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. The incision is placed in a fashion so that it is hidden unless the arm is raised. Liposuction is often performed at the time of the brachioplasty further reducing fatty tissue to achieve a better contour.
If the sagging skin is not as extensive, a smaller horizontal incision can be made in the axilla. This incision does not remove as much skin as the standard incision mentioned above.
Unfortunately, exercise alone will not tighten the skin. Exercise can contour the muscle but cannot replace the lost elasticity of the skin. A stable weight is important to achieve optimal results. At your evaluation, Dr. Hardaway will discuss the location and type of incision along with risks and complications. This procedure can be performed as an outpatient procedure in an accredited office surgical suite, an ambulatory surgical center or in a hospital setting. This is often determined by your medical history.
Frequently Asked Questions
As we age, we lose firmness in the skin, giving the appearance of drooping or sagging skin. The skin underneath our arms can begin to sag. An arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess and sagging skin on the upper arms, between the armpit and elbow. As well, significant weight loss can create loose skin, and cause the skin on the underside of the arms to sag.
The cost of the surgery varies from patient to patient, depending on the needs and wants of each specific patient, and the procedures performed. Dr. Hardaway will help you find a procedure and payment plan that suits your needs.
An arm lift is performed under general anesthesia, while the patient is fully asleep. It is an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient will be sent home after surgery. During the procedure, incisions are made on the underside of the arms. The length of the incisions depends on the patient’s needs, and how much skin will need to be removed. The underlying tissues of the arms are then tightened, and any excess skin is removed. Liposuction may also be performed to remove excess fat. The incision will then be closed with stitches, and the arms loosely bandaged. Drains may be placed in the arms to remove excess fluid.
Compression garments may be recommended to help minimize swelling after surgery. You can return to work when cleared by the doctor. Avoid lifting the arms above the head for 3 to 4 weeks, and avoid any activity that may strain the arms for 4 to 8 weeks after surgery.
Results from an arm lift are long lasting. However, factors such as weight gain can affect the appearance of the arms. As well, the skin can lose firmness and sag as aging progresses, but usually not enough to warrant another procedure. Maintaining a stable weight and healthy fitness habits will help the results last longer.
The most common risk of an arm lift is scarring around the surgical incisions. However, the incisions are made in an area that is typically hidden. Infection is a risk with any surgery, as well as excess bleeding. Following the doctor’s instructions closely after surgery will help decrease the chance of these risks.
Someone is a good candidate for the procedure if:
• They do not smoke or drink excessively
• They are fairly physically healthy
• They do not have any medical conditions that can impair or slow the healing process.
• They have realistic goals for surgery.
• Dr. Hardaway will work with patients to determine what will be best to meet their needs.