Is an Arm Lift Right for Me?
- 31 May 2013
- Dr. Nidal (Nick) Masri
Whether you have lost a large amount of weight through diet and exercise or as a result of bariatric surgery, good for you! You have done the hard work and you deserve to feel great about it. However, sometimes people are left with saggy and loose skin that hides all that hard work. This can be particularly bothersome
in the upper arm area which is frequently exposed (depending on the climate where you live).
What to do? If the loose or saggy skin in the upper arm are bothers you, you may be thinking about an arm lift.
What is it? A brachioplasty or arm lift is used to help remove fat deposits on the arms. People who have been through bariatric surgery will typically have this procedure to remove excess skin and return the natural contour to the arm. The size of the incision you will require to perform this surgery will depend on the amount of weight you have lost and the amount of excess skin that will need to be removed to restore a natural look to the arm.
Who is a Good Candidate? A wide variety of candidates can handle an arm lift. Some patients that simply want to tighten up the look of their arms will have this procedure but a majority of those going in for a brachioplasty are those that have lost a great deal of weight that need to remove excessive hanging skin or “bat wings” that have developed in this area. This is very common for older women. Those that are smokers or regularly use aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications will need to quit before surgery.
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How Does It Work? The surgeon begins by making an incision near the armpit. The length of the incision will vary based on the amount of skin that needs to be removed. In general the more skin that needs to be removed the farther toward the elbow the incision will extend. Any necessary tissue will be removed along this incision and the arm will be stitched back together. This technique is often combined with liposuction to remove any excess fat in the area.
Potential Risks and Recovery Period Like any type of surgery, those that undergo an arm lift have a risk of developing an infection, bleeding, and swelling of the nearby tissue following the surgery. Your doctor will go over any post-operative care instructions that you will need to follow to help minimize these risks. You may experience pain for 7-10 days after the surgery but you will be given medication to help you manage this discomfort. You will also have a scar on your arm where the initial incision was made. Your doctor will carefully examine your arm opre-operatively to determine the best way to make this incision so the scarring will not be obvious and unattractive after it heals.
After your surgery you may need to wear a compression bandage or garment on the arms to allow the area to heal properly. may be instructed to keep your arm elevated in the days following the surgery to reduce your risk of swelling. You may feel like the function of your arms and hands is slow for the weeks following the surgery, but this will return to normal over time.
So, after reading all of the above, if you think you may benefit from this procedure, go ahead and book your consultations to ask your potential surgeon any additional questions specific to your situation.
Personal note: Though I would love to have arms like Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Aniston, I know this procedure is not for someone like me who just wishes her arms were slimmer and more toned. This procedure is for individuals with significant loose and saggy skin.