Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that is commonly called an "arm lift" and which removes loose skin from the upper arm, making the arms look tighter and smaller.
Who Can Benefit From Brachioplasty?
If you have a great deal of loose skin on your upper arms following weight loss or as a result of the aging process, you may be a good candidate for brachioplasty. Exercise usually fails to correct this loosening of the skin, and brachioplasty is a good option to correct the problem. If you also have excess fat in the upper arms, the doctor may advise that you have liposuction in the area at the same time as your brachioplasty procedure.
What is the Procedure Like?
The arm lift is usually done on an outpatient basis in the doctor's office, although it is sometimes performed in a hospital. You can opt to be asleep under general anesthesia, or you can be partially awake with a sedative and local anesthesia to numb the upper arms during the surgery. Brachioplasty generally takes two to three hours, and you should be allowed to go home within a few hours of the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery, however, as even the sedative may make you drowsy. You may also need help around the house for a day or so, and a tube may be temporarily inserted in the incision areas to drain any excess fluids.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
The incision is generally made from under the arm to the elbow, but in some cases, it extends past the underarm area onto the side of the chest to remove excess tissue. There is a rather long permanent scar after brachioplasty, although its appearance will lessen over time. You will probably experience some minor swelling and discomfort for a few days after the surgery, but any pain can be managed with a prescription pain medication. You will be bandaged for a few days, and stitches usually dissolve on their own, although you may need to have some stitches removed as you heal. You can return to work within a week after the surgery on average, and you may resume your exercise program after about two to three weeks.
What Are the Risks of Brachioplasty?
Brachioplasty is a surprisingly simple surgical procedure, and complications are very unusual. The most common are infection and bleeding, both of which can be treated and resolved.