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Arm Lift

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arm-lift

What is an arm lift?

An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that:

  • Reduces excess sagging skin that droops downward
  • Tightens and smoothes the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm
  • Reduces localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region

Fluctuations in weight, growing older, and heredity can cause your upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. This is a condition that cannot be corrected through exercise.

Arm lift surgery may be right for you if the underside of your upper arms are sagging or appear loose and full due to excess skin and fat.

Arm lift cost

The average cost of an arm lift is $3,936, according to 2014 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Arm lift surgery costs can vary widely. The average fee referenced above does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.

A surgeon’s arm lift price will be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used, and the geographic office location.

Most health insurance does not cover arm lift surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

Arm lift surgery costs may include:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Surgeon’s fee

Arm lift candidates

In general, arm lift candidates include:

  • Adults with significant upper arm skin laxity
  • Adults of any age whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight
  • Healthy individuals without medical conditions that impair healing or increase risk of surgery
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations

Arm lift recovery

During your recovery from arm lift surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and your arms may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling following surgery.

A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing, specific concerns to look for, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your arm lift surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
  • Are stitches removed? When?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

Arm lift results

The smoother, tighter contours that result from arm lift surgery are apparent almost immediately following your procedure. Initial results will be obscured by swelling and bruising, and a scar will remain where the incision was made.

Although good results are expected from your procedure, 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.

The results of arm lift surgery will be long lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness, but most of your improvement should be relatively permanent.

Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery.

Arm lift procedure steps

An arm lift procedure includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during arm lift surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

Incision length and pattern during arm lift surgery depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as the best judgment of your plastic surgeon.

Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, depending on the surgeon’s preference, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. Excess fat may be directly excised or treated with liposuction.

Depending on your specific condition, incisions may be more limited. Then, underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm.

Inner arm incision

Arm lift inner arm incision

Back of arm incision

Arm lift back arm incision

Minimal incision

Arm lift minimal incision

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Your incisions will be closed either with absorbable sutures, or stitches that will be removed within one to two weeks following your arm lift.

Step 4 – See the results

The smoother, tighter contours that result from brachioplasty are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although there will likely be swelling and bruising.

Preparing for arm lift surgery

In preparing for arm lift surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Arm lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery, and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.