Do you feel as if you have too much loose or saggy skin on the lower side of your arms? Does this make you dislike the appearance of your arms, make you feel self-conscious or just make you feel older than you are? An arm lift may be the right solution for you.
An arm lift – medically known as a brachioplasty – is a body contouring surgery which removes excess skin and fat from the underside of the arm. As a result of ageing, this skin becomes droopy, and sometimes cannot be improved with exercise. This sagging skin can cause confidence and body image issues, as your arms are such a noticeable feature of the body.
You may also be interested in having liposuction on your arms to remove excess fat.
AT A GLANCE
Anaesthesia type: ClearSleep
Procedure time: 3-4 hours
Recovery time: 1 week
When we get older and lose muscle tone, we may not like what we see in the mirror. If you extend your arm, you may notice a flap of skin that hangs down.
In an ideal world, diet and exercise could correct this. But for some people, that is not enough. An arm lift or brachioplasty can improve the beauty and appearance of the arm.
An arm lift is also known as a brachioplasty. During a brachioplasty, the surgeon makes an incision in the arm. Excess skin is removed, and extra fat may be removed as well. Afterwards, there will be pain and swelling, which can take several weeks to go away. There will also be a scar. Generally, the scar will run down the underside of the upper arm. Sometimes, a surgeon will do a mini arm lift. This procedure leaves a scar in the armpit where it less likely to be noticed.
Risks that you are exposed to include infection, fluid accumulation, haematoma, skin necrosis, poor scar healing, and blood clotting. Your surgeon will also discuss with you the chances of revisional surgery, which is different from post-surgery follow-ups and future surgery. In the period leading up to the brachioplasty procedure, you will be asked to give up smoking if you are a smoker. Aspirin can act as a blood thinner and you will be asked to stay off it.
A good candidate for arm lift cosmetic surgery is generally a person who is in good health and is also of normal weight. Surgeons also look for someone who has been unsuccessful in using diet and exercise to improve the tone of the arm. This is not a simple surgery. There is anaesthesia, which carries risks. There is also the scar tissue to deal with. Anyone considering an arm tuck should consider a board certified plastic surgeon who has done many of these procedures.
It is important to note that an arm lift is not a substitute for weight loss. Rather, an arm lift is suitable for those who have already lost weight and are close to their goal weight. If you are planning to lose a large amount of weight in the future, you may lose the results of the arm lift surgery.
An arm lift will be performed under ClearSleep anaesthetic – a method exclusive to Centre for Surgery. This means you will be asleep throughout the whole procedure. However, unlike general anaesthetic, you will not need breathing tubes and machines during the procedure. You will also have a heightened sense of well-being following the surgery, and it will not take as long to recover from the anaesthetic.
The arm lift procedure involves undergoing liposuction to remove any excess fat. Next, the excess skin is removed and sutured shut.
After the arm lift, you will have a scar which will run down the underarm. While this scar will be more noticeable after surgery, it will fade with time. If you do not want a scar, you may wish to do a mini arm lift, as the scar will be limited to under the armpit, so it will not be as noticeable.
To help the healing process, you will be asked to avoid smoking. You will also have to avoid blood thinning medications.
Risks that can occur with this surgical procedure include:
- Fluid accumulation
- Poor scar healing
- Skin necrosis
- Blood clotting
After the procedure, you will have bandages applied to the incision area. The bandages and stitches will be removed two weeks after the surgery.
You will notice some bruising and swelling, which is a completely normal side effect after an arm lift. This should fade after approximately 20 days.
You will have to avoid any excessive physical activity and heavy lifting for at least two weeks. You will be able to return to work after one week, however, you will still have to avoid any physical labour.
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What should I do before arm lift surgery to prepare?
Refrain from smoking
Stop certain medications which thin the blood to avoid increasing the risk of bleeding
Apply an antiseptic lotion before surgery
What happens during arm lift surgery?
The surgeon will make the incision from the axilla to the elbow. Skin and fat will be removed. Stitches will be used to close the incisions. The procedure takes about two hours.
Is an arm lift a day procedure?
An arm lift is a day procedure. You will be able to return home after the procedure once the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off.
What is the recovery period like?
You will experience bruising and swelling, which may last up to 20 days post-surgery. You may experience some pain and discomfort, which can be managed with medication.
Avoid gym activity for two weeks.
Patients can return to work after one week.
What is the scar like?
The scar will be on the inside of your arm. Very fine sutures will be used to make the scar as inconspicuous as possible. The scar will fade over time.
When can I return to work?
You will need to take at least one week off work. However, you will still have to avoid any heavy lifting.
When can I start exercising?
You will have to avoid any physical activity for two weeks.
Will I have to wear a compression garment?
Following the arm lift surgery, you will have to wear a compression garment for the first few weeks. This will help to speed up the recovery period and ensure your arm/s stay in the best possible shape.