The arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove loose skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arm.
Due to weight loss and ageing, many people are often left with excess skin hanging loosely from under the upper arm. In some individuals, underarms may appear fuller than they would like due to the presence of excess fat. An arm lift can restore the youthful appearance of arms that, with age or weight loss, have lost their natural firmness and shape.
A good candidate for arm lift surgery is a patient in reasonably good health whose main concern is loose skin and poor skin tone – and not simply excess fat – in the upper arm area.
Individuals with satisfactory skin tone who simply wish to remove excess fat in the arm may find liposuction to be adequate treatment. The skin in these individuals will usually retract accordingly following treatment.
An arm lift procedure is not recommended for patients who have had mastectomy surgery because of the increased risks associated with a procedure of this nature.
After the necessary markings are carefully performed, an incision is made in the inner area of the arm and the excess tissue is removed. This allows the arms to be shaped in the most natural way.
Lifting of both arms takes two hours and may involve liposuction, depending on the patient’s preference. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures, and a drain is placed on each arm. Dressings are placed over the incisions for further protection and a compressive garment is applied for support.
After surgery, patients stay overnight at our facilities under direct supervision of a private nurse. Local cryotherapy is applied to reduce swelling and bruising. The morning after the surgery, Dr. Lanfranchi will assess the patient to determine whether he/she can be discharged to the recovery facility.
A follow-up appointment is normally scheduled at Dr. Lanfranchi’s office 2 days following surgery to remove dressings, assess healing and possibly remove the drains. There are no stitches to be removed.
After an arm lift, the patient’s arms are normally swollen for several weeks. It is imperative for patients not to expose the scars to the sun while there is still redness. If sun exposure is absolutely necessary, a sun block with SPF40 or greater should be applied.
Risks of arm lift Surgery
Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk. Although the majority of patients do not experience complications, it is important to understand the risks, potential complications, and consequences of arm lift surgery.
Bleeding – Although this is highly unusual, some patients may experience problems with bleeding during or after surgery. Accumulations of blood under the skin may delay healing and cause scarring. Should post-operative bleeding occur, it may require emergency treatment to drain accumulated blood. In extreme cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
Medical conditions such as hypertension may cause bleeding during or after surgery. A physical checkup is required before surgery can be scheduled. Patients are also advised not to take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for ten days before surgery, as this contributes to a greater risk of bleeding.
Infection – Infection is unusual after an arm lift, and prophylactic antibiotics are used to avoid this complication. Should an infection occur, additional treatment including antibiotics or surgery may be necessary.
Scarring – Different people scar in different ways. While most patients heal quite nicely, abnormal scars may occur in individuals who have a genetic predisposition for this. Scars may be unattractive and of a different color than the surrounding skin. Additional treatments are available to treat scarring, if necessary.
Delayed healing – Some areas around the incision may not heal normally, or may take longer to heal. In rare cases, some areas of skin may die. Should this happen, further surgery may be required to remove the unhealed tissue.
Asymmetry – The human body is normally asymmetrical. There may be a small variation from one side to the other in the results obtained from an arm lift procedure.
Nerve injury – In rare cases, motor or sensory nerves may be injured during an arm lift operation. Nerve injuries may cause temporary or permanent loss of movements and feeling.