Have you lost a lot of weight recently or heredity or time has made your upper arms look as if they have wings?

The arm lift, also known as Brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that can reshape the upper arm between the underarm and elbow. Sometimes called “batwings,” excess skin on the upper arms can make many people feel self-conscious, especially when wearing short-sleeve or sleeveless tops.

Aging, heredity or fluctuations in weight may be factors in the drooping and sagging appearance of your arms. While you may routinely diet and exercise, the upper arms can be a challenging area to tighten and tone.

This procedure can improve loose skin and fullness of the arms along with hanging skin in the armpits. Arm Lift surgery from our experienced plastic surgeon, Dr. Chad Wu, is tailored to address the unique anatomic needs and aesthetic goals of each patient. The arm lift reduces excess skin and fat of the upper arms to provide a smoother, more toned and proportionate appearance. It is also possible for liposuction techniques to be utilized during surgery for optimum results.

GOOD CANDIDATES FOR ARM LIFT

Good candidates for Arm Lift generally have loose, sagging, or excess upper arm skin as one of their main concerns. The skin change is often caused by prior weight gain plus weight loss, sun damage, age, or genetics.

  • Many patients have upper arms that are disproportionately large from the rest of their body (i.e. “fat arms”), and are seeking to be better proportioned.
  • Some patients have ‘floppy upper arms’, due to prior bariatric surgery, or significant weight loss through diet and exercise.
  • Another common patient is one who has noticed that with aging, the arm has become less toned, and there may be wrinkles that have developed on the upper arm skin.

ADVANTAGES OF AN ARM LIFT

  • Slims, tones and reshapes the upper arm contours
  • Firms and tightens arms
  • Steps in where dieting and exercise have failed to provide results
  • Relieves chaffing and irritation caused by low-hanging arm skin
  • Achieves a more flattering fit in swimwear, eveningwear and clothing
  • Helps to boost self-confidence in one’s image

Solutions

Arm Lift surgery can often alleviate this discomfort by eliminating the loose skin and removing pockets of fatty tissue. The result is a slimmer, firmer upper arm that looks appealing in form-fitting and arm-bearing clothing.

Dr. Wu is extensively trained in the latest surgical techniques for improving the appearance of the upper arm. In most cases, the incision will be made along the inside of the arm extending from the armpit to the elbow. In some cases, the incision may be shorter depending on your anatomic characteristics and desired outcome. While this mark will at first be noticeable, the natural healing process should gradually minimize the size, shape, and color of the scar.

Limited Incision

If the excess skin is crepe-like and concentrated near the armpit, a limited-incision Brachioplasty may be the right choice for you. Dr. Wu will pull up and tuck the excess skin through a small opening made within the underarm area and leave behind a smoother, firmer upper arm.

Traditional Incision

This is the standard way to perform an Arm Lift, and it uses a long incision that extends from the underarm to the elbow on the inside of the upper arm. This gives Dr. Wu room to address excess fatty tissue while removing unwanted loose skin across the upper arm and creating a firmer, more aesthetically appealing outcome.

Extended Incision

An extended Arm Lift is similar to a traditional Arm Lift, but the incision is extended down the body. Some patients have excess skin that continues from the arm to the torso and this procedure can help address that concern.

The Procedure

TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • Do not take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Inform your surgeon of any allergies.
  • Report any medications you are taking.
  • Tell your doctor if you smoke.

THE DAY OF THE OPERATION

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Do not wear make-up.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry.

Brachioplasty (arm lift) is generally performed under general anesthesia. Several methods can be used during this intervention depending on the amount of skin and fat to be eliminated. The duration of the operation will vary accordingly, but should take from one to two hours. After stretching the skin, your surgeon will close the incisions in the armpit, elbow and, if necessary, the side of the chest.

An arm lift does not require a prolonged stay in the clinic. You will need to wear compression clothing or keep your arms raised to facilitate healing once you are back home. Allow two weeks off before resuming your activities. The surgeon will prescribe pain relievers to reduce pain.

  • No alcohol
  • No tobacco
  • No intense physical activity

THE MAIN COMPLICATIONS

  • Swelling of the hands
  • Infection
  • Loss of sensation in the treated area
  • Bleeding
  • Seroemia (accumulation of fluids along the incision)

FAQ

HOW IS THIS PROCEDURE DONE?

An Arm Lift is performed for those requiring excess skin removal, skin tightening, and arm re-contouring. For an Arm lift, an incision is made along the inside of the arm from above the elbow to the underarm. If a small amount of skin is being removed, an incision can be done just under the arm. Excess skin and tissue are removed. The remaining surface is sculpted around the arm and sutured.

Your surgeon will determine the appropriate procedure at the time of your preoperative consultation.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THIS PROCEDURE?

During your initial preoperative visit with your surgeon, be prepared to give a complete medical history including all your medications, allergies and previous surgeries. You will undergo a thorough physical examination and blood tests. If you are at or over age 40, an electrocardiogram will be required. Photographs are important aids in planning and performing your Arm Lift. They become a permanent part of your patient record and are taken before and several months after your procedure.

During your consultation, you will be given specific directions to help you prepare for your procedure. Instructions generally include cautions about taking certain medication and drinking alcohol, the shaving process and use of antibacterial soap. You must not eat or drink anything eight hours before your procedure. If you take daily medication, ask your surgeon if it is safe to take before your procedure. If you have any sores on your body, if you have a cold, sore throat or allergic condition, inform your surgeon so you may be examined prior to your procedure.

If you smoke, the likelihood of healing problems and other complications increases. Smokers must stop smoking completely at least two weeks prior to and two weeks after surgery. “Cutting down” is not enough. Complete cessation of smoking is mandatory. You must also stop taking aspirin or diet pills at least 2 weeks prior to surgery.

HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?

Operating time is generally two to three hours depending on the scope of your specific situation.

WHAT FORM OF ANESTHESIA IS USED?

General anesthesia is used for all surgical procedures and is performed by a Professional M.D. Anesthesiologist.

CAN I RETURN HOME THE SAME DAY?

Yes, though it will be necessary that you have someone to pick you up after the procedure, take you home, and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

HOW LONG BEFORE I CAN RETURN TO NORMAL ACTIVITY?

You should be up and moving the day after surgery. You may be sore for a few days after the procedure. You will be able to perform normal daily activities after four or five days. Athletic and rigorous activities can be engaged in after about four weeks. If you have a question regarding activity, be sure to check with your surgeon.

Financing YOUR PROCEDURES

Making the investment in your personal appearance and well-being shouldn’t be a barrier to any of our patients. Dr. Wu offers financing as an alternative to obtain the procedure of your choice.

Dr Chadwick Wu Plastic Surgeon
Procedure

Arm Lift

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