Arm lift, also known as a Brachioplasty, is a procedure to reshape and remove excess skin and fat from the upper arms and underarm area, which may occur with aging or following major weight loss. Fat can be excised directly or excision can be combined with liposuction for the best possible results. This procedure targets excess skin from the underarm area to the elbow region. Brachioplasty can be combined with lateral thoracoplasty (or lateral chest skin tightening) to improve the contour of the upper lateral chest, and mastopexy or breast reduction surgery for gynecomastia depending on your needs and concerns.
The best candidates for arm lift surgery are healthy patients, who are non-smokers, who are at a stable weight for over 6 months, and who have loose, excess skin of the upper arm or underarm area that is not responsive to diet or exercise.
There are several surgical options available depending on the amount of excess skin and fat you have, and the elasticity of your skin. During your consultation with Dr. Capuano, you will be asked what you would like to achieve, and he will suggest the procedure that will help you reach your goals.
Limited Incision Brachioplasty – for patients with excess skin and fat limited to the upper arm, close to the armpit. This surgery uses an incision hidden within the armpit to pull excess skin into the underarm area.
Standard Brachioplasty – for patients with excess skin and fat of the upper arm and underarm area. Incisions extend from the underarm to the elbow area and are hidden on the inside of the arm and within the arm pit.
Extended Brachioplasty, (arm lift with lateral thoracoplasty) – for patients with excess skin and fat of the upper arm, under arm area and upper chest wall. This procedure involves extending a standard brachioplasty from the underarm area onto the upper chest to remove excess skin and fat from the side of the chest.
Patients undergoing an arm lift procedure must keep in mind that they will be trading an improved arm contour for a long scar on the inner portion of their arm. This scar is typically the greatest complaint in patients who have undergone an arm lift, as these scars tend to stay red and become wide due to constant tension on the wound. To reduce the visibility of your scars post-operatively, we will treat you with aggressive scar management.
The standard arm lift or brachioplasty procedure typically takes between 2 and 3 hours depending on the patient’s anatomy. Limited incision procedures typically require less time, and extended procedures require more. Limited incision brachioplasty and some standard brachioplasty procedures can be performed in an accredited surgical center under sedation or general anesthesia. More extensive standard and extended brachioplasty procedures are typically performed in the hospital. An overnight stay will depend on individual medical condition and extent of surgery.
Full recovery occurs over 6 months to a year. Most patients are able to return to work within about 1 to 2 weeks, while 6 weeks are required, before return to strenuous activity or lifting. An important reminder regarding arm lift surgery is the anticipated scar is one of the major complaints following surgery. To optimize your outcome, we recommend you avoid placing tension on your wounds during the remodeling phase of healing, by not lifting or straining for at least 6 months.
Redness, drainage, swelling, temporary pain, numbness of the arm skin, bruising, fatigue. and fluid accumulation (seroma).
Risks include bleeding, infection, hematoma, persistent seroma, changes in skin sensation, unsightly scarring, damage to underlying structures, contour deformity, persistent pain, and unsatisfactory results requiring additional surgery.
Dr. Capuano consistently achieves excellent results with arm lift surgery. He is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and he would be happy to discuss your options if you are thinking about improving the appearance of your arms.
Contact the office of the Northern Center for Plastic Surgery at (201)820-5280 to schedule an appointment.