We’re moving into warmer weather, which means we’ll want to shed the layers of clothing that have been keeping us warm these past few months. If you’ve spent the last few – or many – summers covering your upper arms with long-sleeved shirts, this may be the year that all changes. Excess fat and loose skin on the upper arms is a problem that may not resolve with diet and exercise. Extreme weight loss and the tissue-weakening that occurs with age can affect how well our tissue bounces back as well as how well it resists the effects of gravity. In any case, the upper arms should be contoured, not wing-like. An arm lift can help.
What Is an Arm Lift?
An arm lift is a procedure called Brachioplasty. It is a technique that involves tightening the skin and muscle of the area between the elbow and the armpit. Sometimes, fatty tissue is also removed to optimize the contour of the upper arm. Understanding that arm lift surgery will result in scars, Dr. Trussler is careful to place incisions where they will be most discreet. This may be the backside or the underside of the arms. Here, scars are not visible unless the arms are raised away from the body. Once the incisions have healed well, patients may engage in a scar-healing program that includes creams, silicone sheets, or other strategies to help scars fade as much as possible.
What Happens During an Arm Lift?
Brachioplasty is performed as an outpatient surgery. At the accredited surgery center, the patient meets with the doctor to go over their procedure as planned during their consultation. The doctor will review the techniques that will be used and answer any last-minute questions. In the operating room, once the patient is under general anesthesia, an incision is made. This may be a short incision near the armpit or a longer incision that extends down to the elbow.
If excess fat is present, liposuction may be performed. This technique extracts subcutaneous fat through a small tube. The muscle and skin are then tightened. After tightening the muscle and trimming the excess, Dr. Trussler places internal sutures to secure the new contour of the arm. These stitches will dissolve over time. The skin is tightened and trimmed to fit against the muscle, and external stitches are used to close the incisions. These may be removed 7 to 10 days after surgery. The arms are dressed and bandaged.
Arm Lift Recovery
Patients should have someone stay with them for a few days after Brachioplasty. Because the arms are bandaged, arm mobility will be limited. Patients may not stretch their arms or lift them overhead for approximately 4 weeks. However, many normal activities can be resumed 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.