Board CertifiedAmerican Board of Plastic Surgery Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
Newport Beach Brachioplasty / Arm Lifts
Brachioplasty, often referred to as an arm lift, upper arm lift, arm tightening or arm rejuvenation, is rising in popularity throughout the country. More men and women are seeing the affect that being overweight has on their body and life and are changing their lifestyles by changing their exercise and diet patterns to achieve weight loss. After weight loss, many people feel much better about their new healthy lifestyle, however, some complain of the insecurities of not being able to show off their new silhouettes with certain clothing due to excess residual skin that is hanging off of their arms, sometimes referred to as a "bat wing". Brachioplasty is performed to correct the excess hanging skin of the upper arm area. The surgery entails the creation of a long incision extending from the axilla (armpit) to the elbow, and is aimed to be hidden when the arms are down. The loose excess skin is marked for removal, and any fat attached to the area of skin that is to be removed is also removed in the process.
Newport Beach Brachioplasty / ArmLifts / Arm Lift Procedure Dr. Amy Bandy - Plastic Surgeon
Before and After
Q: Who is the ideal candidate for Brachioplasty?
A: An ideal candidate for an arm lift would be a patient at or near their ideal weight with loose skin that may show stretch marks or that has little to no skin elasticity remaining in the arm region. An ideal candidate may have fat left in their arms and choose to have liposuction in conjunction with an arm lift (see liposuction under procedure index). If a patient’s main concern is fat only, and not loose skin, liposuction is generally recommended instead. Any stretch marks present in the same region of the skin to be removed, will also be removed. The happiest patient after surgery is the person who has a large amount of excess skin. This is because the disadvantage of having the scar still outweighs the appearance of the excess skin. Persons with minimally loose skin should be sure to weigh the downside of a long scar that sometimes can be quite noticeable before considering this surgery.
Q: How is Brachioplasty surgery performed?
A: Prior to being sedated, a patient’s arms are marked to determine how the skin hangs when both arms are lift straight out at shoulder level. The amount of skin to be removed and the amount remaining is discussed prior to surgery so that the patient and surgeon are both understanding as to what will be a realistic result. Although a patient can have an arm lift under a local anesthetic, most patients choose to have their brachioplasty procedure performed under general anesthesia. After the patient is sedated, the surgeon makes an incision along the underside of the arm in a place that once healed, will be easily hidden when arms are to a person’s side. The length of the incision is determined by the extent of loose skin that must be removed. It is not out of the ordinary for an incision to start within the axilla (armpit) region and extend down to the elbow area. Once the incision is made, the surgeon will make detailed excisions of specific measurements of skin. Once a predetermined amount of skin is removed, the two remaining ends of skin are brought together and sewn closed. A skilled surgeon will have no overlapping skin remaining, as well as not having skin that was pulled too tight due to removing much more skin than was necessary forcing the remaining skin together. Prior to suturing the incision closed, both ends of the skin should match up perfectly to create a smooth and natural appearance.
Q: What are the possible complications from Brachioplasty?
A: As with any surgical procedure there comes a risk for possible complications. Possible complications include bruising, infection and pain. More serious yet less common complications include hematoma (bleeding under the skin), seroma (fluid drainage under the skin), unusual scarring or poor healing and asymmetry (one arm being uneven in size compared to the other arm) or the very slight risk of Compartment Syndrome.
Q: What is the recovery like?
A: If a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon performs your surgery, your procedure and recovery should be uneventful. Patients usually state that recovery was not as painful as they had anticipated and that they were pleasantly surprised. If liposuction is performed in conjunction with an arm lift, recovery is much different than just an arm lift alone and can be more painful and longer of a recovery. Because Dr. Bandy uses fully absorbable sutures to close the incision, a patient will not require a suture removal appointment. Patients usually are able to continue a good portion of their daily activities within the first week after their procedure. It is recommended to take a week off of work as well as waiting 2-4 weeks before doing any moderate to heavy lifting. It is recommended to continue any weight lifting for exercise after at least 4 weeks of recovery. Patients may continue driving any motorized vehicle once they have discontinued use of any pain medication and do not feel any pain during normal arm movement. Scars can take up to two years to become fully healed and patients are strongly encourage to follow all instructions for post operative aftercare to achieve the best results possible. It is recommended to apply a silicone based post surgical scar cream or silicone strips to aid in proper scar healing. Arms may remain swollen for several months and the arms final contour will not be visible until all swelling has gone down.
Final thoughts on Brachioplasty
Patients that were once worried about loose or hanging skin on their arms find that after an arm lift they feel very comfortable and confident in clothing that bares their arms. Most patients that have undergone an arm lift state that the results of the procedure have allowed them to continue their lifestyle with added benefits including: increased confidence to join the gym and exercise more frequently, nights out dancing with friends, a more pleasurable dating and love life and confidence to wear swimwear.