An arm lift, also known as a Brachioplasty, is a cosmetic surgery to treat sagging underarms and the connecting area of the chest wall. The surgery improves the appearance of the under portion of a person’s upper arm. It reduces extra skin, removes excess fat, tightens and smooths the underlying tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm. The surgery can make your upper arms look more defined and toned. As you get older, your skin changes and becomes loose, particularly the skin on your upper arms. Genetics and significant weight loss also play a role in the development of drooping upper arms. While exercise can strengthen the muscle tone in your upper arm, it cannot correct excess skin that has lost its elasticity.
The procedure might be for you if the undersides of your upper arm appear loose or sagging due to excess skin and fat. This procedure may also boost your body image. In general, a good candidate for an arm lift surgery are individuals with significant upper arm skin laxity, individuals who are not significantly overweight, and healthy individuals without medical conditions as it can increase the risk of surgery.
Your plastic surgeon will likely review your medical history and ask you about any medications you are taking or have taken recently. You may be required to do a physical exam to determine the treatment options, a chest X-ray, and an electrocardiogram. You can also discuss your expectations in terms of appearance post-surgery. During this discussion and evaluation, be sure to ask your surgeon questions and tell them your concerns because it is very important to understand all aspects of an arm lift procedure, such as the benefits and risks. If you smoke, your surgeon will ask you to stop around one or two months before the surgery to reduce the risk of complications.
The surgery can be performed in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. Your surgeon will start by marking on the underside of your arms where they plan to make incisions. The incision length depends on the amount of excess skin to be removed and generally placed on the inside or the back of the arm. Then, you are given local anesthesia, however, in some cases, general anesthesia is recommended. Your surgeon will recommend the best choice for you. Guided by the marks on your arms, your surgeon tightens and reshapes the tissue in your upper arms. Your surgeon then pulls your skin back over the tissue and secures it with stitches. A suction technique (liposuction) may also be used to remove fat. Finally, your skin is smoothed over the new contours and excess skin is removed and the whole procedure normally takes two hours to finish.
Length of Stay in Destination
After the surgery, you may go home on the same day or you will have to stay for one to two days in the hospital. The arms are usually wrapped in elastic bandages to minimize swelling, and small tubes may be placed in your arms to drain excess blood. It is advisable to stay in the local area for ten to eleven days after your surgery because you will need to attend follow-up checkups and also for the removal of stitches.
The recovery period of an arm lift is typically short as long as you follow your surgeon’s postoperative care instruction. You may be able to return to work and resume some activities within two weeks, and you should be able to return to your normal daily routine in six weeks. The surgeon may get you to wear a compression sleeve for a few weeks to keep your swelling down. However, allow six months before doing any strenuous and athletic activities, such as sport, because it might stretch the incision. The healing time for your swelling may take two to three months. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience shortness of breaths, irregular heartbeat, chest pains, a fever, or redness of the skin.
Your surgeon will give you aftercare instructions, which will cover what medications to take and when, how to take care of your wounds, warning signs, and a timeline for follow up appointments. It is important to strictly follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Your surgeon may prescribe painkillers and to prevent wound infections you may need to take oral antibiotics or topical medications. While recovering, it is essential to avoid smoking because smoking slows down the healing process and will increase your risk of infections and permanent scarring. To maintain the result of arm lift surgery, you will need to maintain a stable weight and general fitness.
An arm lift has a high success rate and is typically long-lasting. However, you need to remember that your skin will eventually lose some firmness as you age and some drooping might occur. It is important to know that an arm lift has possible risks and side effects. You might have pain and infection after the surgery. In some cases, excessive bleeding, permanent scarring, fluid buildup, the damage of nerve, muscle, and blood vessel, as well as fatty tissue.
Before and After
Alternatives to an Arm-Lift
If you prefer less invasive procedures, some alternative procedures can be used instead of arm lift surgery.
- Laser Skin Tightening is perfect for those with mild to moderate skin laxity. Your upper arms will be treated with a high-power surgical laser that can stimulate collagen production in your skin. It involves no scarring, no downtime, and almost no uncomfortable feelings. Nevertheless, the results appear gradually and are not as effective as an arm lift. You might need to undergo multiple treatments before you get to your desired result.
- Mesotherapy is used to melt fat and tighten skin. A solution containing amino acids, medication, and natural ingredients will be injected to the middle layer of your skin. The effects will be visible after four to eight weeks and it may not be effective if you have a lot of excess skin.
Other alternatives are Vaser liposuction, Lipodissolve, Thermage, and massage therapy.
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