Many individuals develop mild looseness of skin along the upper inner arm from aging, weight fluctuation, and gravity. Individuals who have had major weight fluctuations have severe excess of skin in this area, which interferes with daily life. Some patients have severe skin excess, laxity, and stretch marks from genetics.
Arm lift surgery, or brachioplasty, can revise unattractive features of the upper arm to enhance your appearance. Please call Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center at (702) 260-7707 to discuss your suitability for this procedure. Dr. Brown welcomes patients throughout the Las Vegas area.
What Is Brachioplasty?
Arm lift surgery removes and tightens the redundant skin of the upper inner arm. The trade-off is a potentially visible scar coursing along the full length of the upper inner arm. For patients with severe excess, it is worth the trade-off.
In patients with more minimal skin excess, the conspicuous location of this scar in sleeveless tops makes the surgery less desirable. Unfortunately, there is no other way to tighten skin in this area. Small tucks within the armpit itself provide extremely subtle effects, but may be effective for patients with small excesses of skin in this area only.
In general, individuals with mild skin excess affecting the upper arm are better off with a non-surgical approach, using diet and exercise to improve upper arm contour. For patients with disproportionate fatty deposits along the upper arm and normal overlying skin tone, liposuction alone may be the best treatment to decrease the fullness of the upper arm without visible scarring.
Who Is a Candidate for Arm Lift Surgery?
- Individuals with loose or wrinkled skin of the upper arms, usually seen after massive weight loss or gastric banding or bypass
- People with hanging upper arm skin or visible stretch marks, or small fatty deposits of upper arm interfering with ability to wear certain clothing styles
- Patients with thinner upper arms are better candidates than those with more fat, as the skin can be tightened more effectively. In patients with moderate to severe fatty deposits along the upper arm, a preliminary liposuction procedure may be advised to reduce the bulk of fat along the upper arm, so skin can later be tightened maximally. Aggressive liposuction at the same time as upper arm skin tightening is not recommended due to swelling and circulation changes that may hinder proper healing of the incisions
- Individuals with redundant skin in the armpit
- Patients should be healthy, close to normal weight, and be willing to accept a permanent scar as a result of the procedure on the upper inner arm
Goal of Arm Lift Surgery:
- To tighten the loose skin of the upper arm and improve the contour and narrow the width of the upper arm
- To remove any stretch marks along the inner aspect of the arm
- To achieve a more youthful look to the arm
- To remove small fatty deposits and disproportionate fullness on the outer aspect of the arm
- The skin is to be tightened as much as possible, but safely. There are critical neurovascular structures that run within the upper arm that do not tolerate pressure. Therefore do not expect 100% correction of the skin looseness.
Brachioplasty Procedure Description:
- The procedure is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient
- Skin is removed along the inner aspect of the arm, with a tuck in the axilla or armpit
- Sutures are used to tighten the skin
- Some conservative liposuction may be performed along upper outer aspect of the arm
- The arms are lightly bandaged in ace wraps for about 1 week. Arms should remain elevated on 2 pillows to keep swelling to a minimum
- Mild to moderate pain is well controlled with oral pain medication
- Drainage tubes are generally not used
- Most patients take 1-2 weeks off work. Patient should be able to perform basic, non-strenuous activities of daily living right after surgery. No heavy lifting or excessive arm activity for 3-4 weeks
- It takes at least 1 year for the scars to mature and fade
- Conservative liposuction of the upper arm may be done at the same time as brachioplasty in certain candidates. For patients needing more aggressive upper arm liposuction, a preliminary upper arm liposuction procedure is performed, followed by brachioplasty surgery about 6 months later. This is a safer approach to achieve a more dramatic result in patients who have heavy arms.
- Breast contouring with breast lift or tummy tuck surgery may be performed at the same time in certain candidates
Arm lift surgery is an effective way to treat severe excesses of skin of the upper arm. It has a high rate of satisfaction in the right candidates. Patients must have realistic expectations, understanding that results can be variable from person to person, and not to expect 100% correction of the sagging skin. Patients must also expect a potentially conspicuous permanent scar along upper inner aspect of the arm that can be visible in sleeveless clothing.
For patients with more mild degrees of skin excess, a non-operative approach is advised. Upper body exercise to tone and develop the upper arm muscles does not tighten skin, but may improve the appearance of the upper arm. Currently, there is no other treatment or technology that reliably tightens the skin of the upper arm noticeably or as dramatically as brachioplasty surgery. Brachioplasty results are long lasting and can produce dramatic improvement in the firmness and appearance of the upper arms.
To find out if an arm lift procedure is right for you, please call (702) 260-7707 or contact Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center online to arrange a free consultation with Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Hayley Brown.