Objective of arm lift & brachioplasty

Arm Lift & Brachioplasty

People are sometimes left with empty hanging folds of skin after pregnancy, serious weight loss, or sometimes just with aging. When this loose skin is surgically removed from the upper arms, we call it an arm lift or brachioplasty. Brachioplasty effectively tightens the skin of the upper arms. However, in patients who have had a mastectomy with lymph node dissection, an arm lift is not recommended since it may result in permanently swollen arms.

Anesthesia before arm lift

Very small lifts may be done under local anesthesia with or without sedation, but most lifts require general anesthesia.

Surgical Technique of arm lift

Liposuction is sometimes used to remove fat from under the arms before the excess skin is excised. Care must be taken to avoid disturbing deeper layers of fat in order to protect the nerves, glands and veins of the arm.

With minor cases of hanging skin, an incision limited to the armpits region is possible. More commonly, the arm lift procedure requires an incision and resultant scar that normally extends from the armpit to the elbow, on the inner aspect. The position and length of the scar may vary depending on the existing skin laxity and fat accumulation. Those patients considering brachioplasty must understand that they will be left with the resultant permanent scars. The color, texture and final appearance of the scar will vary from patient to patient. Most patients find it necessary to initially wear long sleeved clothing after surgery to conceal the scar until it has matured.

Recovery after arm lift

Bruising and swelling will be present for at least two weeks. Pain medication is required for the first few days. The compression garment, if used after surgery, should be worn for about 1 week.

Return to work after arm lift

While most people return to work after 1 to 4 weeks, heavy lifting should be avoided until the incisions are fully healed.

Possible complications after arm lift

Risks include swelling, bruising, bleeding, infection, scarring and numbness which may be permanent. If the lymphatic vessels are damaged during the operation, permanent swelling may occur.

For further information about arm lifts, please click here :American Society of Plastic Surgeons