As we get older, the skin on our upper arms gets looser. This can be especially true for those who’ve lost a lot of weight. Are you embarrassed enough by the loose skin under your arms that you’ve taken to wearing long sleeves even the middle of summer?
This sagging and loss of elasticity can start to happen as early as our thirties. Skin loses elasticity as we age, resulting in sagging of the tissue on the back of the arms. This sagging can be worse if you spend too much time in the sun or if you smoke. Heredity also plays a role in how much your arms sag, as does pregnancy and weight gain.
Losing a significant amount of weight, a great accomplishment, can also cause the underpart of your upper arms to sag. Exercise can strengthen and improve your muscle tone in that area, but it doesn’t do anything for the loss of elasticity.
You don’t have to live with this loose skin. Our board-certified surgeons can perform brachioplasty, also called an arm lift, to remove the excess skin and tone your arms.
What is brachioplasty?
Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat deposits from your arm and tightens and smooths the remaining tissue.
Skin loses elasticity as we age, resulting in sagging of the tissue on the back of the arms.
Your Brachioplasty Consultation
The first step is a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons at our main office in Annapolis, MD or at one of our satellite offices in Easton or Prince Frederick. During the consultation in one of our comfortable exam rooms, you’ll get all your questions answered and come up with the right plan for you.
The consultation typically includes a discussion of:
- Your goals: why do you want the surgery and what outcome are you hoping for?
- Your medical history. You’ll talk about things like:
- Are you taking any prescription or nonprescription drugs and/or herbal supplements?
- Do you smoke?
- Have you had any previous surgeries?
- Your arms. The doctor will examine, measure and evaluate both of your arms.
- Your options. You’ll discuss the different types of brachioplasty, any risks and possible complications.
Be sure to bring your questions. You’ll have time to ask whatever you need. We recommend writing down your questions as you think of them, so you won’t forget to ask. When you leave your consultation, you and your surgeon will have developed the treatment plan that’s right for your needs.
Understanding the Brachioplasty, or Arm Lift, Procedure
Brachioplasty procedures are performed in our fully accredited, state-of-the-art, ambulatory surgery center in Annapolis. Patients arrive the day of surgery and our expert staff helps prepare you for your procedure.
Your doctor sees you before your surgery. He’ll review the surgical plan with you before you go into the operating room and mark the surgical site.
During the arm lift, your surgeon makes an incision on the inside or on the back of your arm from your armpit to just above the elbow and removes the excess skin. Some arm lifts are a combination of liposuction followed by removal of the excess skin. Stitches are used to close the incisions. Your incisions will be covered in bandages and your arms will be loosely wrapped in another bandage to minimize swelling.
Once the surgery is completed, you’ll be monitored in the recovery room until you’re ready to go home. Most patients report some discomfort with brachioplasty, but they agree that the pain is very tolerable.
Recovery and Results of Brachioplasty
You’ll go home the same day. Make sure to arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you overnight, since you may be groggy from the anesthesia. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication and some topical creams. You’ll want to use them as prescribed to alleviate any discomfort and help with healing.
You’ll follow up with your surgeon within a few days of your procedure. He’ll remove your bandages and make sure you’re healing correctly. There will be a scar; however, our surgeons do their best to hide the incision in your inner arm, so it isn’t highly visible even when you’re wearing a T-shirt.
Most people return to their normal activities within two weeks. Exercising takes a bit longer – we recommend waiting four to six weeks.
Arm lift results are typically long lasting. However, since our skin naturally loses some firmness as we age, some sagging may occur in the future. Keeping your weight stable can help you maintain your results.
What are the risks of arm lift surgery?
The risks associated with an arm lift are low and include many of the same risks you find with other types of surgery, like infection, bleeding, incisions that are slow to heal and problems with anesthesia. Most patients recover quickly, happy with their decision to do this for themselves.
Do you think you’re a candidate for brachioplasty? The only way to know for sure is to speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, to get the information you need to decide of a brachioplasty is right for you.