A Comprehensive Guide to Arm Lift Surgery (Brachioplasty)
- 17 March 2014
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
Arm lift surgery is a common cosmetic procedure which is performed, of course, on the arms. Tens of thousands of American women alone undergo this specific procedure each and every year. If you’re considering such a procedure, it’s important that you learn more about what’s involved, how it’s all performed, and what you can expect
along the way. Use this guide to get started and get your questions answered about arm lift procedures in Miami, FL.
What is Arm Lift Surgery?
So, keep in mind that different clinics or surgeons, or information you find elsewhere, may refer to these alternate names while talking about the same procedure. The procedure is not known exclusively as an “upper” arm lift, since there is no such thing as a “lower” arm lift.
Click Here to Download Your Free Checklist
However, it should be noted there are various different types of arm lifts which may performed (learn more below).
During an arm lift procedure, excess skin which is hanging from the arms is removed and the remaining skin is tightened. Liposuction may also be performed in conjunction with this procedure. An incision will be made which may range from the armpit to the elbow, or be restricted to only the underarm area.
The end result of arm lift surgery is a newly shaped and contoured arm, with drastically reduced hanging or excess skin.
Types of Surgeries and Options
As mentioned, there are several different specific variations of a brachioplasty:
Standard (Regular or Traditional) Brachioplasty: This offers the complete removal of excess hanging skin and flab from the elbow to the armpit. When there’s substantial flaps of skin following extreme weight loss, the standard brachioplasty takes care of the hanging “bat wing” of skin which these individuals are coping with.
Extended Brachioplasty: An extended brachioplasty includes a slightly larger swath of body area during this procedure. It will include the upper side of the chest wall and the underarm region, in addition to the arm itself from the elbow to armpit. This is also commonly utilized for post-bariatric patients who have gone through extreme weight loss.
Limited-Incision (or Minimal Incision): A limited-incision brachioplasty will have an incision located only in the armpit. This is for patients who have less total arm hanging skin, as well as those who would prefer fewer or smaller scars. For many patients, it’s a pro vs. con of total excess skin removal vs. increased scars and visibility of scars.
Liposuction may be used in conjunction with any of the variations of brachioplasty for a more complete effect when remaining skin tissue has enough elasticity to shrink on its own after fat removal.
Top Reasons To Receive Arm Lift Surgery
There are many different reasons why you may want to have a brachioplasty performed. Here are some of the top reasons and largest advantages:
- The dramatic weight loss of bariatric surgery often leads to large flaps of excess skin hanging in various regions of the body, including the arms. A brachioplasty will remove this excess skin and reshape the arms.
- While other regions can be hidden by clothing more easily, the arms are the most exposed. Therefore, from a physical appearance standpoint as well as for body image and self confidence, upper arm lift surgeries are one of the top priorities for many bariatric surgery patients.
- The natural wear and tear of aging, more gradual weight gain and loss over the years, and more, may lead to the same appearance of excess hanging skin from the upper arms even without having undergone bariatric surgery.
- It’s much easier and more comfortable to wear a greater variety of clothing, including form-fitting clothes, short sleeve clothes, tank tops, bathing suits, and more, after this procedure.
- In many cases, patients who have slimmed down need smaller sizes of tops but then have larger arms which actually don’t fit or look appropriate with the smaller sizes, and need to be reduced.
- Large amounts of excess hanging skin from the arm can make certain forms of physical activity difficult and restrict mobility with the arms.
Undergoing brachioplasty is an amazing tool for self image and confidence and revealing the final, dramatic overall change from your weight loss. The “new” you isn’t complete for many individuals until this type of work has been performed, allowing them to truly look and feel at their absolute best.
Steps Involved in the Surgery
During a standard brachioplasty, your surgeon will first create the markings for incision lines along your arms. In your initial consultation, the surgeon will have already discussed with you where those incisions will be made in your instance.
After undergoing anesthesia, the incisions are made and the excess skin and fat are both removed. It is at this point where liposuction will be utilized if it is being performed in conjunction with the arm lift itself. The remaining skin is tightened and smooth over your arm to create a toned new contour.
Generally, you’ll be wearing a compression garment as you recover from your procedure. The length of time you need to wear this will depend upon your specific circumstances and surgeon recommendations, but expect at least several days.
The surgery itself may last for as little as one hour, or may take up to three hours. Brachioplasty is an outpatient procedure, so you’ll be able to go home the same day that the procedure is performed. This makes for a more convenient, as well as less costly, surgery.
A period of several days to a week will likely be needed before resuming normal activity. An additional several weeks may be required before resuming more rigorous physical exercise.
Due to the multiple variations of brachioplasty surgery, keep in mind that your specific surgery may be different based upon the actual work being performed.
Are There any Complications or Risks Involved?
Brachioplasty carries the standard risks and complications of nearly any surgery which requires anesthesia. The good news is that an arm lift is much less comprehensive than other types of cosmetic surgeries and body lifts, and as mentioned, it’s an outpatient procedure as well. The occurrence of significant complications from this procedure are quite rare.
There is the potential for damage to sensory nerves as well as loss of sensation. In most patients, sensation may be reduced or numbed for several weeks or months before gradually returning in full, although there is a risk of permanent sensation loss.
Other risks include bleeding, infections, and seromas, as well as damage or prolonged swelling to lymphatic channels or collections.
Smoking increases the risk factor of all surgeries, including brachioplasty. Most surgeons will require you to cease smoking for at least several weeks if not longer leading up to a surgical procedure.
One of the major considerations of arm lift procedures is the scarring which results. Many patients do not want visible scarring, and for some individuals, the scarring is not worth the final results.
This is typically the case when the excess hanging skin is not as severe as for patients who have undergone dramatic weight loss via bariatric surgery. Minimal-incision arm lift procedures may be performed for some patients. Incision lines are also generally made along the back of the arm to reduce visibility.
Additionally, it is sometimes challenging to predict and define the exact new resulting shape of your arm, as well as the similarity in appearance between the two arms, and the visibility and shape of the scars.
You need to be at a stable weight after your weight loss before undergoing arm lift procedures. A typical timeframe may be anywhere from 12 to 24 months after the initial bariatric surgery. If you’re planning on losing more weight or have not yet stabilized, it is not recommended that you undergo this type of procedure.
Arm lift procedures offer some of the most consistent and long-lasting outcomes compared to other cosmetic surgical procedures. That’s because without substantial weight gain following the procedure, there is simply reduced wear and tear on this portion of the body as compared to say the stomach or breasts. However, the effects of aging and the changes it has on your body and skin will of course have an effect on the shapeliness and appearance of your arms, even after a brachioplasty.
How to Choose a Surgeon or Clinic?
After you decide that you do indeed want an arm lift procedure in Miami, FL, you’ll want to focus on finding the right surgeon and clinic to work with. The first factors you always want to consider revolve around the quality of the surgeon and the clinic.
Think about the surgeon’s overall education, training and certification, and other statuses or accomplishments they hold. Look into their reviews and ratings online, and the satisfaction of their clients. You want to work with a surgeon who is very highly experienced with arm lift surgeries specifically, and not just generally cosmetic surgery.
Ask about what a clinic does to reduce the chance of negative side effects or complications. What kind of pre and post surgery appointments, tests or meetings are performed? What can you expect from the actual day of your surgery?
As you meet and consult with a surgeon and his or her team, find out how many surgeries they have performed of this type, what specific variations of the procedure they offer, and also what they would recommend in your case. Be sure to find a match between what the surgeon performs and recommends, and what you are actually searching for specifically.
You want to be personally comfortable with your surgeon. You should feel as if you can ask them questions, receive honest responses, and work together to develop a unique solution based upon your needs and wants.
If you feel like the surgeon doesn’t care about you, that you don’t get along with them, or otherwise have some sort of conflict, find a different clinic and surgeon to work with. Many patients overlook this personal side of the process, but those who are most satisfied with their results almost always have a surgeon they closely trust and are friendly with.
Cost of Arm Lift Surgery
The upper arm lift surgery has a national average cost (in 2012) of $4,055. This cost represents only the surgeon fees. It does not include additional costs including medical testing, anesthesia, pre- and post- surgical care, and other associated fees and costs.
As mentioned, the good news is that arm lifts are outpatient procedures. This offers a much more affordable procedure than inpatient surgeries which may require one or several nights stay in the hospital.
This procedure is seen as an elective or cosmetic procedure. Therefore, it will not be covered by most insurance companies barring any unusual circumstances.
Be sure to consult with your surgeon and his or her clinic about their financing or payment plans. Also, remember that while it’s tempting to choose a surgeon who charges less money and is more affordable, you always want to side with experience and skill, over reduced costs.
Finally, keep in mind that the national average will vary greatly from one area to the next. For instance, the cost of arm lift surgery in Miami, FL, will be substantially different than New York, or somewhere in the middle of the country.
The Bottom Line
Brachioplasty offers patients substantial and long-lasting results. For individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery in particular, this is a wonderful solution and “finishing touch” which will help them to truly experience the physical appearance and benefits of their original procedure.
As compared with other cosmetic surgeries, recovery time and pain are not as severe, while the actual outcomes can be wonderful. Walk the beach or boardwalk in Miami, FL, with renewed confidence and pride, and skinnier, toned arms worthy of some sunshine!