woman-arm-bat-wings-400x400Brachioplasty is the medical term for an arm lift. An arm lift removes the sagging, excess arm tissue, often called a “bat wing,” and reshapes the under portion of the upper arm. It tightens the skin and muscles, beginning at the armpit and ending at the elbow. By addressing excess skin that has lost elasticity or underlying weakened tissues and localized fat deposits, an arm lift can enhance and reshape your arms offering a more toned appearance.
A good candidate for an arm lift is someone who is in overall good health, who has been at a stable weight for at least one year and desires to improve the contour of their upper arms. Many people find themselves interested in an arm lift after they have undergone an extreme weight loss procedure such as gastric bypass. Regular exercise and strength training can tighten and tone muscles but are unable to reduce the amount of excess skin.  An arm lift is not only for those who have lost weight; thin people may also have sagging upper arms due to the impacts of aging and genetics.
Arm Lift Surgery
The location and size of your incision will depend upon how much tissue needs to be removed and whether the tissue is near the armpit or lower down on your arm. A traditional vertical incision goes along the inside of the arm, from the armpit to the elbow, and is placed in the most discreet location possible. If the excess tissue is limited to the top of the upper arm, you may be a candidate for a short-scar arm lift with a crescent-shaped incision in the armpit area where it will be completely unseen. Some people who have lost a significant amount of weight following bariatric surgery may have more excess skin and will need an incision that runs from the elbow, along the arm pit, and onto the side of the chest.
Arm lift surgery is generally an outpatient procedure. It typically takes one to two hours, but may take longer depending on the extent of the surgery. During the procedure, your doctor will make the incisions needed, remove the excess skin and fat, and then close the incisions carefully to minimize scarring. Your sutures may be placed beneath the skin, where they will be gradually absorbed by your body. Recovery may include some mild discomfort right after the procedure. It is normal for some swelling and bruising to occur, with most swelling peaking two to three days after your arm lift and subsiding within two weeks. By elevating your arm with pillows, you can reduce swelling and increase comfort during recovery.
Results of arm lift surgery will be long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness in your arms, but most of your improvement from surgery should be relatively permanent. If you have a traditional arm lift, your scar will be visible in short sleeve shirts and tank tops. Initial scar healing takes approximately two weeks. After that time, your surgeon will work with you on scar management.
Liposuction or SlimLipo
During your arm lift, your surgeon may use liposuction to remove excess fat, or during your consultation it may be determined that liposuction will be a better alternative to brachioplasty if you have good skin tone and localized fatty deposits. If you are a candidate for liposuction and want a non-surgical option, SlimLipo is a perfect choice. SlimLipo is a laser liposuction technique that melts fatty tissue and tightens the skin. There is no anesthesia required, no scarring and a short recovery period. The treatment last 2-3 hours, and after approximately six months, you will see dramatic results.
If you have excess upper-arm skin and fat following significant weight loss, loss of upper-arm skin elasticity or weakened tissues in the upper arm, then a brachioplasty is the perfect solution. If it is excess fat that has you concerned, call our office today to learn more about SlimLipo or the traditional liposuction procedure. You won’t regret it! In just a short time, you will look much better in form-fitting clothes, you will be able to wear short-sleeve or sleeveless clothing without feeling self-conscious and you will have increased confidence and a better self-image. Our surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and have extensive experience in performing traditional and short-scar arm lifts. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!