Achieve a Youthful Look Through Arm Lift Surgery

Achieve a Youthful Look Through Arm Lift Surgery

01st Dec 2017

The natural aging process is one of the main factors that can determine major changes in a woman’s body. Other factors could be due to multiple pregnancies and weight fluctuations. No matter what the glossy magazines show you, you won’t just be able to jump back into your pre-pregnancy body as soon as the baby comes out. And the same goes for weight loss, you might think that can never be a bad thing, but this can actually change how your body looks. Sure, you have lost weight, but now you might be confronted with unpleasant side effects, such as sagging skin and fat deposits that are difficult to address simply through diet and exercise.

Most women will put a tremendous effort into getting back in shape after one body-changing event. After a while, you will notice that there are limitations to what their hard work can do. They can lose weight or tone the muscles, but in most cases, the other effects, such as the sagging skin won’t go away with just exercise.

The sagging of the skin on the upper arms is probably one of the most common side effects when losing a significant amount of weight. Women manage to lose arm fat, but the sagging skin on the arms stays as an obnoxious reminder of the surplus of weight they once had.

The Arm Lifting Procedure

Brachioplasty or arm lift is a plastic surgery intervention designed to remove the excess skin and fat in your arms, specifically located in between the armpit and the elbow. In general, it is a procedure recommended for adults with a great laxity of the arm tissues. In other words, there is a lot of excess skin caused by the loss of skin elasticity that may be attributed to aging or massive weight loss.

The arm lift intervention can be performed on patients with a relatively stable weight as well as those with an approximately normal weight for their age and body type. However, it is important to mention that this is not a weight loss procedure, but rather, it addresses issues that occur after losing an impressive amount of weight. With the help of brachioplasty, both men and women can enjoy a toned and proportionate set of arms.

What types of Brachioplasty can be performed?

The surgeon decides which type of arm lift is suitable for each patient depending on the size of the excess skin and fat and also their location, which can be found around the armpit or all the way from the armpit to the elbow.

Let’s explore three types of brachioplasty:

For patients with minimal skin excess, the doctor will recommend to do the lifting with the transversal scar localized in the armpit. This means that the scar will be placed in the natural folds of the body under the arms. This type of lifting is almost always associated with liposuction for improved and long lasting results.

Another type of arm lifting is the one where the incision is placed on the length of the arms. By doing so, it eliminates the fat tissue and the excess skin all the way from the elbow to the armpit, resulting in a scar on the internal side of the arm.

Then there is the extended arm lift, which will eliminate the excess skin and fat tissue both on the arms and the lateral side of the thorax. The scar will go from the armpit towards the side of the breasts. This type of arm lift addresses almost exclusively patients who lost a lot of weight, usually with the help of a bariatric surgery.

Alternative Treatments

Liposuction can be another treatment method for patients who have moderate fat deposits and good skin muscle tones/tonus.

If the skin has adequate elasticity, it will retract on the new contour of the arms after liposuction, showing excellent results. But if the skin presents excess stretch marks (which is usually a sign of a bad quality of the tissues) after the liposuction, the results will not be satisfactory. In this case, the only method to reshape the arms is the removal of the skin surplus.

What you need to know before an arm lift procedure

The intervention is usually performed under general anesthetic and it can take around 2 to 2 and a half hours. In the case of extensive arm lifting on the side of the thorax, the operative time will be longer and it can reach up to 5 hours, depending on the patient’s case.

After the procedure, you will need approximately 7-10 days of resting and minimal activity because it is important to give your arms sufficient time to heal. Limiting the arm movement will also help decrease the swelling.

The scars will be healed in 2-3 weeks, and in the beginning they will have a red-purple color. The scars will improve considerably later on, especially during the first year.

The permanent results of an arm lift procedure are usually impressive in terms of reshaping the arms. With that said, it also comes at the price of some scars that may not look aesthetically pleasing. For some, they may also be located in areas that are visible, so this is a risk you have to consider before opting for the surgery.

The decision to undergo plastic surgery for arms lifting is a personal one, and you will need to decide if the benefits, in your case, are enough to accept the risks that are associated with any type of surgery, not just plastic surgery. There are several surgical risks related to anesthesia, bleeding, hematoma & seroma formation, infection, delayed wound healing, etc.

Preparing for an arm lift surgery

During the initial consultation, the plastic surgeon will evaluate your health condition and discuss potential diseases, allergies, and commonly used medication. It is recommended to avoid using anti-inflammatory medication, such as Aspirin, for at least two weeks before the surgery. For women who take birth control pills, the doctor will advise to stop taking it for at least 4-6 weeks prior to the surgery. This is because birth control pills increase the risk of thromboembolic complications, causing blood clot formation.

Before the arm lift procedure, you should also avoid sun exposure as it might interfere with the skin healing process after the surgery. A balanced diet is also recommended before and after the surgery.

In addition, your doctor will recommend you to quit smoking for at least a month before and after the surgery or at least to significantly reduce the number of cigarettes smoked on a daily basis. Smoking can lead to a poor oxygenation of the blood that can cause delayed wound healing, bad looking scars, and other complications during the recovery period.

The result of the surgery will be properly evaluated after one year from the surgery, as this is when the scars are completely healed and the results final.

Potential complications of the arm lift surgery

The risks related to the anesthetic needs to be discussed with the anesthetist before the surgery, especially if you had issues before with the administration of general anesthetic. Nowadays, the complications related to anesthetics are rare, but they can still occur.

Other potential complications that can occur after the arms lifting procedure are:

  • Thromboembolic accidents, but these are very rare.
  • Hematoma, but also occurs in rare cases with plenty of treatment options.
  • Infection can occur in the surrounding natural folds of the body, but it can be prevented through a rigorous hygiene before and after the surgery. It can also be treated with antibiotics.
  • Seroma is a fluid accumulation at the incision site and can occur a week after the intervention. To prevent fluid accumulation after a surgery, the girdle is mandatory to wear for as long as the plastic surgeon will recommend. If the seroma is big, the plastic surgeon will recommend a different treatment option.
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Fat tissue necrosis at the level of the armpits. It occurs more frequently in smokers, especially if they do not quit smoking before the surgery and during the recovery process.
  • Sensitivity changes: a decreased sensitivity on the internal side of the arms. Usually, the normal sensitivity will be back in 3-6 months after the intervention.


The skin of the internal side of the arms is extremely thin and soft, which is why when we age or lose a considerable amount of weight, we notice that this area shows some skin excess that is not very pleasing to the eye. With the brachioplasty, patients can get rid of this unpleasant aspect of aging and weight loss by eliminating the skin surplus and stretching the skin. The result is almost always extremely satisfactory for the patient.

The arm lift is an intervention relatively simple compared to other plastic surgery procedures, and has the most positive long-term effect. It can be performed on both men and women. It is quite common for people to associate the arm lift procedure with liposuction, even though it actually does not get rid of fat.

The pain after the brachioplasty procedure is bearable, and the plastic surgeon will prescribe only pain killer medication to help you deal with the discomfort and potential pain. Overall, the arm lift is a plastic surgery procedure that comes with a lot of benefits, which is why people with excess or sagging skin on their arms should consider it. It will certainly help them get a proportionate and pleasant looking set of arms.

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