Sagging and droopy arms make many people very self-conscious. Several factors can lead to lose, sagging skin around the upper arms including weight loss, aging and heredity factors. Many people often resort to dieting and exercise with little success. They modify their attire to cover their arms, which becomes a nuisance especially in the summer.
What is arm lift surgery?
Arm lift surgery— or “Brachioplasty” — is a common cosmetic procedure that tightens and reshapes the skin beneath the arm by removing excess skin and fat through an incision that extends from the underarm to the elbow. The scar is well hidden in the inner aspect of the arm. The procedure results in slimmer, more youthful looking arms. Many patients of Dr. Motakis who undergo this procedure have renewed confidence to wear short or sleeveless shirts again.
Who is a good candidate for arm lift surgery?
Arm lifts are equally effective in both men and women and the procedure is ideally suited for healthy individuals who have loose, sagging skin and excess fat around the upper arm area, which cannot be improved or eliminated using regular exercise. There is no specific chronological age to have this surgery. The best candidates are those who are in good health, don’t smoke and have realistic expectations. Patients that undergo this surgery find the results to be life-changing, displaying an increase in confidence, self-esteem and comfort in social settings.
During an arm lift procedure, Dr. Motakis expertly removes excess skin and fat from the inner aspect of the arm. Brachioplasty generally takes between 1 and 2 hours to perform under general anesthesia and the patient goes home the same day after the procedure.
Will there be visible scarring?
Dr. Motakis makes every effort to minimize the appearance of scarring. The incision is always hidden in the best possible way and in most cases the length of the incision is short. However, this depends on the excess of skin present; the greater the skin excess, the longer that scar. If the skin excess is mostly in the area closest to the underarm, the skin excision is limited within the armpit skin (mini-brachioplasty or mini-arm lift).
In cases where the excess skin extends to the lateral aspect of the chest, the skin excision and incisions are extended past the armpit to the lateral aspect of the chest and breast. While incision lines are permanent, they usually significantly fade over time and often become imperceptible. No matter which surgical technique is used, if excess fat is present around the arm, it is removed concurrently via liposuction. No drains are used during this procedure and all sutures used are internal and dissolving, making the recovery easier. Tightening the underlying supportive tissue in your arms results in a slimmer, firmer shape.
What to expect during brachioplasty recovery
You will receive instructions from Dr. Motakis concerning caring for your incisions while you recover from surgery. On average, it takes approximately 2 weeks to recover from an arm lift procedure. A supportive garment will be provided to you that will need to be worn for 4 weeks after the surgery. Initially, you should expect a few days of swelling and bruising with discomfort which is treated with mild analgesics. You will likely be able to resume light activities 48-72 hours after your surgery, but it is recommended any intense physical activity such as exercise only be resumed 3-4 weeks later. You will likely need approximately 5-7 days off work.
What are the risk factors of a Brachioplasty?
Dr. Motakis makes every effort to execute the procedure in the most meticulous way, however, as with any surgery, reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, changes in sensation, unfavorable healing are among the risks of arm lift surgery, although these are extremely rare. Dr. Motakis will explain the risks of Brachioplasty in detail during your consultation.
Are there any alternatives to arm lift surgery?
Alternative procedures to Brachioplasty include arm liposuction. Liposuction is a good option if there is excess fat, but the skin elasticity is good. In cases where the loss of skin elasticity is minimal, radiofrequency skin tightening (BodyTite©) or a mini-brachioplasty with a smaller incision in the armpit may be good options. Such procedures offer a smaller scar but are usually reserved for cases of minimal skin excess. TiteFX© and FormaPlus© are two non-invasive technologies offered by our clinic that help reduce fat and tighten skin, respectively. Both modalities use radiofrequency to melt fat and firm skin, but they are usually reserved for mild cases. 6-8 treatments are required one week apart and there is no downtime.
Maintenance of the results requires repeat touch-up treatments every 4-6 months.
Can an arm lift surgery be combined with other procedures?
Many of Dr. Motakis’ patients combine their arm lift procedure with other cosmetic procedures offered at the clinic. These procedures frequently include breast lift or augmentation and liposuction among many others.