Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a procedure that lifts and reshapes the under portion of the upper arm, from the axilla to the elbow. Fluctuations in weight, growing older and heredity can cause your upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. Exercise may strengthen and improve the underlying muscle tone of the upper arm, but it will not get rid of the excess skin that has lost its elasticity or any underlying localized fat deposits. If the underside of your upper arms are sagging or appear loose and full due to excess skin and fat, a brachioplasty may be right for you.
An arm lift is performed to:
- Reduce excess skin and fat between the underarm and the elbow
- Lift and Reshape your arm, resulting in smoother skin and contours
- Give a more toned and proportionate appearance
Special note: In order to achieve your improved image, the trade-off will be a scar on the inside of your upper arm.
In general, candidates for an arm lift include:
- Patients with significant upper arm skin laxity
- Patients of any age whose weight is stable and who are not significantly overweight
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that will impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Intravenous medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Dr. Jensen will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as the best judgment of Dr. Jensen.
Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, depending on Dr. Jensen’s preference, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. If fat is to be removed during your arm lift, it will be excised or treated with liposuction.
Inner arm incision
Back of arm incision
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Your incisions will be closed with buried, absorbable sutures.
Step 4 – See the results
The smoother, tighter contours that result from an arm lift are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although initial results will be somewhat obscured by swelling and bruising. Your new, shapely and toned upper arm is dramatically improved both in appearance and in clothing.
Following your surgery, dressings will be applied to your incisions, and your arms will be wrapped in a compression garment to minimize swelling.
You will be given specific instructions by the nursing staff that will include: How to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific signs to look for at the surgical site or adverse symptoms, and when to follow up with Dr. Jensen.
Be sure to ask Dr. Jensen or a member or the staff specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- How long can I expect to be in the recovery room?
- What medication will I be prescribed after surgery?
- How long should I wear the compression sleeves after surgery?
- How long dos it take for the sutures to dissolve?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
The decision to have arm lift surgery is personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are out way those risks.
You will be asked by the nursing staff to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
The risks include:
- Unfavorable visible scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Anesthesia risks
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Blood clots
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Major wound separation
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs
- Pain, which may persist
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Possibility of revisional surgery
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions and concerns directly with Dr. Jensen.
It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcomes or preoperative stress. Discuss these feelings with Dr. Jensen or a member of the staff.
When you go home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heartbeats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you might require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following Dr. Jensen’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive stress, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Dr. Jensen will give you specific instructions on how to care for arms.
Be sure to ask questions
It’s very important to ask Dr. Jensen or members of the staff questions about your arm lift procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr. Jensen.