The rise of surgical procedures that aid in radical weight loss led to a corresponding demand for upper arm lifts, or brachioplasty. Of course, individuals who have had weight loss surgery are not the only patients who request or can benefit from upper arm lift surgery. For some people, sagging skin associated with aging is the culprit; others are unable to get rid of flabby upper arms through exercise. An upper arm lift creates a smoother look, increases the tightness of the skin, reduces the appearance of fat, and creates a more youthful appearance. Upper arm lifts can also address flab or folds in the skin on the side of the chest near the armpit.
How is the procedure performed?
Surgery to perform an upper arm lift typically takes about two hours and can be conducted under light anesthetic. In some cases, the upper arm lift can be accomplished using only liposuction and won't require any incisions to be made.
More intense upper arm lift surgery will use an incision placed in the crease of the armpit or down the inside of the arm. These incisions will be used to:
- lift the skin
- tighten the arms
- remove excess fat
- tighten arm ligaments
Following the upper arm lift procedure, the skin is sutured shut and a pressure garment or elastic bandage is applied to promote healthy healing.
Recovery and Results
Patients will have limited use of their arms immediately following an upper arm lift, but doctors discourage heavy lifting or even fully extending the arms for the first week or two after surgery. Patients will return a day or two after the procedure, and then usually again within two weeks for the removal of the sutures. During the first days and weeks after an upper arm lift procedure, patients may be required to follow a special regimen of light exercise and stretching to prevent the loss of range of motion of the arms.
Upper arm lifts, especially in combination with liposuction, can produce dramatic results in the contour of the arm. The scars resulting from an upper arm lift are not considered "mature" until a year, or even two, after the surgery, and typically are not dramatic or even readily noticeable. Some individuals choose to have a scar revision after their upper arm lift surgery, in order to further reduce the appearance of scarring.