If it seems sleek, toned arms in sleeveless styles have become a fashion accessory…you wouldn’t be wrong. And in sunny Miami, bare arms are on display year-round. So the pressure is on to make those naked biceps and triceps look good.
But upper arms easily develop sagging, loose skin and excessive fat. Culprits for those so-called “bat wings” include aging, massive weight loss, and difficulty toning the arms. Once hanging flab happens, exercise cannot fix the problem. The skin has stretched out too far and generally cannot retract on its own.
The hanging skin becomes more than an annoyance when people start avoiding swimming, sunbathing, and short sleeved tops because of their embarrassment. For anyone extremely self-conscious about the appearance of their upper arms, an arm lift (also known as brachioplasty) can be the solution.
Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat on the upper arms, tightening the skin and allowing muscle tone to become visible. Once the excess tissue is gone, patients will enjoy sleeker, slimmer, more aesthetically pleasing upper arms. Along with the cosmetic benefits the procedure offers, patients often become more confident and comfortable, free to wear what they want and do what they want without self-consciousness.
If you are considering an affordable, safe, beautifully done arm lift procedure in South Florida, your first step is to consult with prospective plastic surgeons. At mia Aesthetics, Dr. Sergio Alvarez and his staff of elite-level doctors offer free consultations to explore your goals for the procedure, evaluate the excess tissue on your arms, and confirm whether an arm lift is right for you. This is your time to get to know your potential surgeon, let your surgeon know how you want to look, and ask all your questions about the procedure.
Though brachioplasty is an effective, safe procedure, it’s not right for everyone. Good candidates for arm lift surgery are women and men in good health who are at a stable weight and have hanging, lax skin and unwanted fat in the upper arm area. Due to safety concerns, patients will need to be non-smokers (or be willing to quit) and not have any conditions or essential medications that could cause problems during surgery. Finally, prospective patients must have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure. While brachioplasty can produce beautiful results, it is important for patients to understand the benefits and limitations of this or any cosmetic surgery. Ultimately, it is up to you and your surgeon to determine if an arm lift is the solution for you.
Arm lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, so patients can go home shortly after the procedure is complete. General anesthesia is most commonly used in this procedure. An incision is made on the underside of the upper arm, and its length will depend on how much tissue needs to be removed.
Through the incision, your surgeon will remove excess skin and fatty tissue. This will be done in a way that sculpts the arm into an aesthetically pleasing shape. Once this is done, the skin will be tightened and the incision closed with sutures. Sometimes, patients will need liposuction in combination with arm lift surgery, and this will be performed at the same time as the brachioplasty. The basic procedure takes about an hour or two.
Immediately following the procedure, the incisions will be bandaged and a compression garment needs to be worn. Swelling is normal and gradually disappears over a few weeks. However, residual swelling can persist as the wound heals. Patients should be able to manage any pain and discomfort with prescribed medications, and most feel well enough to return to work within a week. But you can expect some activity restrictions for several weeks following surgery, and we will give you detailed instruction on promoting proper healing.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
When choosing a surgeon to perform your arm lift, there are several factors that should go into your decision. Of course, you want a talented plastic surgeon with a good reputation for excellent results. To find that person, you should meet with several surgeons to discuss your options and find one with whom you feel comfortable. Finally, you need to be able to trust your surgeon—an important element in any plastic surgery procedure.
How prominent is the scarring from arm lift surgery?
All surgery produces scarring, and arm lift scars are usually larger and more prominent than those from many other cosmetic procedures. Their location and length make them difficult to hide, and arm lift scars tend to fade less than other surgical scarring. However, most patients feel the benefits of the procedure are worth the scarring. If scarring is a concern, discuss that with the surgeon, who can estimate the length of the scars and their location. Many patients use Vitamin E oil or silicone-based anti-scar gels or serums to thin the appearance of scars. Your physician may be able to recommend other remedies as well.
When can I start exercising again after surgery?
Most surgeons advise waiting 4-6 weeks to resume exercise, longer for arm exercises. Patients should consult their surgeons for specific instructions on activity restrictions.
What are the potential complications of arm lift surgery?
All surgery carries some risk, and while brachioplasty is a low-risk surgery, there is always a potential for complications. For arm lift surgery, these can include:
- Excessive scarring
- Loss of sensation
- Anesthesia complications
- Poor wound healing
What’s the difference between brachioplasty and arm liposuction?
Arm lift (brachioplasty) surgery is designed to reduce excess, hanging arm skin, while liposuction removes unwanted fat for better contouring. While the two procedures can be combined, some patients will benefit from arm lift surgery without liposuction, and vice versa. Only you and your doctor can make the decision about which procedures are best for achieving your specific goals.
Can the skin on my arms stretch out again after surgery?
Arm lift surgery is considered permanent, and after surgery, it is unlikely you will ever develop hanging, excess skin again. Significant weight gain followed by weight loss can cause the problem to recur, but it is rare. This is why we advise patients to maintain a stable weight, both before and after surgery.