Brachioplasty (Arm lift surgery)
Liposuction, laser liposuction
and smart lipo are quite similar.
Because Dr. Dana is a leader in post weight loss Cosmetic surgery in Florida, we see quite a few arm lift patients in the course of their body contouring journeys. After weight loss (or gravity over time), the skin on your upper arms can become loose and hang. Patients are often frustrated with how they look wearing t-shirts, tank tops, or shirts with tight sleeves. It may also cause infections, rashes, or difficulty exercising.
An arm lift surgery or brachioplasty with or without liposuction can help improve the shape of your arms and how you feel about yourself.
Techniques of Arm Lift Surgery
Each arm lift is individualized depending on the amount of extra skin and fat and the amount of improvement desired.
Incisions – If there is only a small amount of extra skin improvement can be made with a small incision near the armpit. Post arm lift scarring is often very difficult to see.
If you have a larger amount of extra skin, then you will need to have an incision shaped like the letter L that goes from just above the elbow to the armpit. The incision can even extend down the chest wall to remove extra tissue there. After the incision has been made, I will gently elevate the skin and fat off of the underlying arm muscles.
The extra skin and fat is removed, and the skin is re-draped over the underlying muscles. One or more drains may be placed beneath the incision. These slender tubes assist in draining fluid that accumulates beneath the incision and delays healing.
The arm lift incisions are carefully closed with multiple layers of strong sutures to minimize your scar. All of the sutures are beneath the skin and are absorbed by your body so they will not have to be removed after surgery.
A sterile dressing is applied to the incisions, and a compression garment is placed around your arms. This compression garment helps support your arms during healing, decreases postoperative swelling, and helps decrease bruising.
Other procedures commonly performed during an Arm lift surgery:
Liposuction – If you have extra skin but no extra fat, then a one-stage surgery to remove the skin will give you the results you want. If there are fat deposits as well as extra skin, then you may get better results from a two stage approach with liposuction first and skin surgery at a second stage to address skin that doesn’t shrink enough over time. Please click here to read more about liposuction and what to expect after liposuction surgery. This is a very common cosmetic surgery in Florida.
Risks associated with arm lift surgery
- Infection – This can vary from a small amount of redness on the skin that may require antibiotics by mouth to a pocket of infection that requires surgery and admission to the hospital for IV antibiotics.
- Bleeding – A small amount of bleeding may cause bruising and swelling may occur after an arm lift. Rarely, bleeding is severe enough that you need additional surgery to stop it.
- Blood Clots – After arm lift surgery blood clots can form in the veins in the leg. They can cause swelling, and they can break off and travel to the lungs where they can be fatal. Smoking, surgery time over 4-6 hours, and inactivity after surgery increase the risk. This is a rare but serious risk of surgery, and I take every precaution to ensure your safety.
- Poor wound healing – This is a common complication of arm lift surgery due to the length of the incisions and the moist environment near the armpit. This complication is even more common with smokers, patients with diabetes or obesity, and patients with poor protein intake, which can occur with rapid weight loss or extreme dieting.
- Scarring – Wound healing depends on a combination of the surgeons arm lift surgical technique and how your body naturally heals based on your genetics. That being said, the scars from thigh surgery can be more prominent than for other surgeries for a few reasons. Gravity puts a lot of tension on the suture line and you use your legs a lot which can put further stress on scars. If there are small areas that don’t heal well, they can usually be improved with a small procedure under local anesthetic in the office.
- Numbness – There may be some numb areas after arm lift surgery. For most patients it improves to full sensation over several days to weeks. Rarely, there will be areas of permanent numbness or areas of increased sensitivity. It is normal for the incision to itch as it is healing as the nerves recover.
What to expect after arm lift surgery
Brachioplasty or Arm lift surgery can safely be done in an outpatient surgery center. You will need to be taken home by a friend or family member. You may choose to have us arrange for a private duty nurse to care for you in the comfort and privacy of your own home for the first few days after surgery.
Antibiotics and pain medication will be prescribed and should be taken as directed. The pain medications can cause constipation, so I recommend you use over the counter stool softeners to help prevent this. The dressings will be taken off in the office a few days after arm lift surgery, and the drainage tubes will be removed when the drainage is minimal.
You should plan to take it easy following your surgery. No strenuous activities, heavy lifting (over 10 pounds), aerobic exercises, swimming, contact sports, tennis, or golf should be planned for the first three weeks. You should wear the compression garment for three weeks following surgery. You will see some results instantly after surgery, but it can take 6-12 months to see the final contour and scar.
Cost of arm lift surgery
Arm lift surgery in Palm Beach is very affordable. The typical cost of an arm lift is comprised of the arm lift surgery fee, Anesthesia, and The surgical facility fee. This generally brings the cost of an arm lift to between $6000, and $10,000 depending on the extent of the arm lift surgery.