Arm lift or brachioplasty procedure is a fairly
common surgery to help remove loose skin and excess fat deposits that are stored
in the upper arm area. As we age, the upper arm skin can become lax, loose
and flabby. This problem is seen quite frequently with patients who have
had extreme weight loss or gastric bypass. Once the skin has been
stretched out, it has a harder time with retracting and tightening up which will
lead to sagging.
An arm lift or brachioplasty:
Reduces excess skin and fat between the
underarm and the elbow
Reshapes your am
to result in smoother skin and contours
Results in a more
tones and proportionate appearance
The mini or axillary brachioplasty procedure may
be performed when there is small amount of skin laxity - and the hanging skin is
located within two inches from the armpit. In these cases an incision is
made with in the arm pit and along the arm pit crease. Liposuction is sometimes
performed during this procedure for additional contouring of the arm.
A full brachioplasty is necessary when there is too much excess skin and fat
through out the arm. An incision is made along the inner portion of the
arm from the axillary area to the elbow and excess skin and fat are removed. The incision is well hidden and will not be visible with the arms at the side in
the resting position. However, there will be some scar show with wearing a
sleeveless dress or top (when moving the arms).
A “T” shaped scar is usually visible afterwards.
Liposuction is sometimes added for helping with
contouring the arms. Although Liposuction is not an essential part of a brachioplasty, some surgeons use this to help dissect and separate the deep
tissue from the skin flaps.
An extended brachioplasty or arm lift has the
incision extending from the elbow to the armpit and along the outer sides of the
chest to the level of the horizontal bra strap. The extended brachioplasty
enables the reduction of the upper torso (chest area) and bra strap area so that the patient
can fit better with certain clothing. A "L" shaped scar us usually visible
The only time
liposuction is a better choice is when there is a lot of fat, but the skin is
tight. It is not a choice if your problem is due to loose skin. An arm lift is
the best choice when the skin is loose.
The incisions are closed mostly with dissolvable
sutures and more than likely the patient will have
drains to help reduce the amount of edema
or swelling that might occur.
The entire procedure of
an arm lift takes approximately an
hour per arm. The surgeon makes zigzag, elliptical or triangular incisions along
the inner surface of upper arm. The space contained between the incisions is
exactly the area of skin that would be removed. If the patient needs to have fat reduced in the
upper arm area, liposuction
is used. The underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with
internal sutures. Overlying skin is smoothed over the new contour of the
arm with excess skin reduced.
Dissolvable sutures are used to close the
incision and either fibrin tissue glue or stitches will be used to close the
outer portion. If sutures are used, these will be removed within one to
two weeks following the brachioplasty procedure. A pressure
compression garment or
elastic bandage is applied to promote healthy healing.
Patients who are emotional and mentally stable with a positive
outlook with realistic goals for what an arm lift can
Patients who are committed to a healthy lifestyle with the
proper nutrition and fitness program
Patients who are
NOT a good candidate for an arm lift:
This surgery is not suitable after a mastectomy (breast removal) for breast
cancer or operations in the axilla lymph nodes. Those with
multiple infections of the sweat glands may also not be candidates for
brachioplasty. This is because there may be problems with draining the
fluids from your arms as a result of your previous surgery. If you were to
have another operation, your arms could swell very badly and this may be
Having a brachioplasty is not an
alternative to losing weight. Most surgeons will suggest alternatives
to surgery for patients who are more than 15 percent over their ideal body
If the patient is
in the middle of losing weight, it is best to first lose the weight before
having this surgery.
keloid scars might not be a suitable candidate for this
surgery, as the scars could have the potential of being unsightly.
Brachioplasty scars tend to be some of the more noticeable scars
left after cosmetic plastic surgery. The scars tend to widen and
stay more red than typical scars. Still many patients find this
an acceptable trade-off in order to rid themselves of all the