- 1 Description
- 2 Options
- 3 Indications
- 4 Evaluation
- 5 Options and Procedure Details
- 6 Before & After Photos
- 7 Recovery
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 8.1 What is a brachioplasty (arm lift)?
- 8.2 How does an arm lift procedure work?
- 8.3 Will arm lift surgery be painful?
- 8.4 What are the common side effects after an arm lift?
- 8.5 Will there be scarring with arm lift surgery?
- 8.6 How long does an arm lift procedure last?
- 8.7 What type of anesthesia will be used for arm lift surgery?
- 8.8 How long is the recovery period for arm lift surgery?
- 8.9 Will I have to stop smoking before my arm lift procedure?
- 8.10 How do I know if I am a good candidate for an arm lift?
- 8.11 Is there anything I need to do before my surgery?
- 8.12 What are the benefits of arm lift surgery?
- 8.13 When are the arm lift sutures removed?
- 8.14 What happens during my consultation?
- 8.15 Can other procedures be performed with an arm lift?
According to a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 15,000 upper arm lifts were performed in the United States in 2012. The number of upper arm lifts has increased from 300 in 2000. This trend reflects the reality people no longer want to put up with the appearance of loose upper arm skin. Celebrities with beautifully toned arms may also have influenced this spike in the popularity of upper arm surgery. As one ages, skin loses its pliability and its ability to adhere to underlying tissue. Additionally, the deep layers of fat, muscle, and bone decline as well. The amount of elastic tissue and collagen present in the dermis (the deepest layer of the skin) also decreases with age. These factors, combined with fluctuations in weight, genetics, and the force of gravity, all contribute to the many changes that occur in the upper arm region. The popularity of the “sleeveless” trend in fashion has motivated women and men alike to seek surgery as a solution to problems with excessive skin in the upper arm area.
Exercise may strengthen and improve muscle tone, but it cannot address the problem of skin that has lost its elasticity, nor can it resolve the issue of unwanted fat deposits that give the upper arms their flabby appearance. Fortunately, with an arm lift (brachioplasty) at Gabbay Plastic Surgery, Dr. Joubin Gabbay, M.D. can create a sculpted upper arm that his patients are proud to show off*. Brachioplasty surgery can involve either subtle skin tightening, or more dramatic results, depending on the degree of the patient’s loose skin*. Dr. Gabbay understands that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” patient, and works with each patient to customize a treatment plan designed to meet his/her specific needs.
Brachioplasty is especially popular among patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, because along with their weight loss, they often have a large amount of excess, drooping skin in the upper arm region. In certain situations the skin is able to retract after losing weight, making the need for skin excision unnecessary. However, in most cases, the skin has been stretched to the point that it has lost its elastic ability, and it cannot retract to the new shape of the body. The reduction of sagging skin in the upper arm area often help to bolster patients’ self-confidence, and enables patients to dress in clothing styles that they might have previously been too self-conscious to wear*.
*Results May Vary
Arm contouring surgery can be tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs*. Not all patients require extensive skin excision – the decision of what type of operation to perform is based on the amount and type of skin and fat present in the upper arm:
- Type I—Excess skin with minimal fatty deposits
- Type II—Both excess skin and fatty deposits
- Type III—Excess skin in the upper third of the arm, typically caused by aging
- Type IV—Excess skin in the lower third of the arm, typically caused by aging or massive weight loss
Brachioplasty is generally performed using two different techniques:
- The Full Upper Arm Lift: The full upper arm lift is a technique used to surgically remove excess skin that droops from the upper arm. It involves an incision in the armpit and along the underside of the arm to the elbow. In most cases, performing a full upper arm lift is appropriate for patients with skin elasticity problems resulting from the natural aging process, or for those who have excess skin resulting from rapid weight loss. Most bariatric surgery patients will require this type of traditional brachioplasty, as a mini arm lift will not provide the drastic revision necessary after extreme weight loss*.
- The Mini Arm Lift: This procedure involves an incision in the armpit similar to the full arm lift incision, but on a much smaller scale. The mini arm lift procedure is typically used for patients who have lost a moderate amount of weight due to diet and exercise, or for those who have developed some excess skin through the natural aging process*.
At Gabbay Plastic Surgery, the overarching goal is to provide patients with the most rewarding experience possible. Dr. Gabbay and his professional and compassionate team educate patients about their procedures from start to finish, and Dr. Gabbay is available 24 hours a day for his post-surgical patients, to answer any questions or concerns patients might have during their recovery.
Arm lift surgery typically takes 1-3 hours, and some results are immediately visible, while continued improvement is seen over time as the incision site heals and swelling diminishes*. The full upper arm lift operation begins with an incision placed on the inside of the arm (or on the back of the arm) that extends from the underarm to just above the elbow. The procedure for a mini arm lift is similar to that of a full arm lift; however, in a mini arm lift the incision is much smaller. Dr. Gabbay will close the incisions with absorbable sutures or fine stitches that will be removed within 1-2 weeks*. Upon completion of your operation, you will stay in the recovery room for approximately one hour prior to being released to a friend or family member. Immediately after surgery, you should not move your arms above your shoulders, and there will be some swelling and bruising. Any swelling will peak 2-3 days after your arm lift and the majority of swelling will subside within two weeks*. If you would like more information about arm lift surgery, please contact Gabbay Plastic Surgery and we will be happy to answer any and all of your questions, and to schedule an initial, complimentary consultation with Dr. Gabbay. You may also click the link below to read a more in-depth description of the arm lift procedure.
*Results May Vary
The ideal candidate for an arm lift procedure is a patient with excess fat and/or loose skin in the upper arm region.
Arm lift surgery is designed to*:
- Improve the shape and contours of the arms
- Remove excess/hanging skin resulting from weight loss or aging
- Give the arms a more toned and proportionate appearance
If you are interested in learning more about arm lift surgery, please call Gabbay Plastic Surgery and let us schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Gabbay. During your meeting, Dr. Gabbay will discuss your overall expectations in order to determine whether brachioplasty can help you fulfill your aesthetic goals. You should come to your consultation prepared to discuss your medical history (including any past surgeries), present medical conditions, allergies, and medications.
It is imperative that you are honest and provide complete information, as numerous medical conditions can potentially increase the risks and complications associated with surgery. If Dr. Gabbay feels you are a good candidate for arm lift surgery, he will explain the different techniques, costs and potential side effects before scheduling your procedure. When choosing Dr. Gabbay, you can be assured that you are in the hands of a surgeon who has undergone extensive training and is highly esteemed by his colleagues and patients alike.
Options and Procedure Details
Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that can be performed using two techniques:
- The Full Upper Arm Lift: The full upper arm lift is a technique used to surgically remove excess skin that hangs from the upper arm, and involves an incision made in the armpit and along the underside of the arm to the elbow. Full upper arm lifts are good options for patients with poor skin elasticity due to the natural aging process, or who have large amounts of excess skin and fat resulting from rapid weight loss*. Most bariatric surgery patients will require traditional brachioplasty, as a mini arm lift is unable to provide the drastic revision necessary after such extreme weight loss.
- The Mini Arm Lift: This procedure involves an incision made in the armpit, and is similar to that of the full arm lift, but on a reduced scale. The mini arm lift procedure is typically used for patients who have lost a moderate amount of weight due to diet and exercise, or who have developed a moderate degree of excess skin as a result of the natural aging process.
- Complementary Procedures and Alternatives: patients with excess fat in the arm region may benefit from having liposuction surgery in conjunction with their brachioplasty procedure. Patients seeking to improve the appearance of their arms with non-surgical body contouring may elect to have laser skin tightening treatments.
Arm lift surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes 1-3 hours, depending on the extent of the surgery*. Arm lift surgery is performed using general anesthesia or IV sedation and the incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. The full upper arm lift operation begins with an incision placed on the inside of the arm (or on the back of the arm) and extends to just above the elbow. For a mini arm lift, the incision is much smaller and the excess skin can be removed from the armpit.
After making the incision, Dr. Gabbay will elevate the skin and fat off of the muscles of the arm before gently removing it, and will place a tube beneath the incision to assist in draining of any fluid that may accumulate. Dr. Gabbay will close the wounds with absorbable sutures or fine stitches, which will be removed within 1-2 weeks*. A sterile dressing will be applied and a compression garment (or binder) will be placed over the arm to help support it and decrease post-operative swelling or bruising. Your brachioplasty results will be noticeably immediately following surgery, and will continue to improve over the next few weeks, as the incision site heals and swelling diminishes*.
Before & After Photos
*Results May Vary
Upon completion of your operation, you will stay for approximately one hour in our recovery room, prior to being released to a friend or family member. You may experience some discomfort associated with the surgery, which can easily be controlled with medication*. Upon discharge, you will receive prescriptions for pain that you will take as needed and antibiotics that you will take for several days to decrease the chance of infection. Immediately after surgery, you should not move your arms above your shoulders you will likely experience some swelling and bruising, which will peak 2-3 days after your arm lift, and subside within two weeks*.
You should be up and walking the day following surgery, although your arm will be sore for several days*. Most patients return to work after approximately one week; however, you will be instructed to avoid any strenuous exercise for one month, and heavy lifting for at least six weeks. You will wear a compression garment to allow the skin to adhere to the underlying tissues and will return to see Dr. Gabbay one week after surgery so he can remove any sutures and bandages, and monitor your healing progress.
Although rare, potential arm lift complications include: swelling, bruising, discomfort, tightness, tingling, numbness, infection, scarring, swelling, adverse reaction to anesthesia, hematoma, seromas, and loss of sensation*.
*Results May Vary
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a brachioplasty (arm lift)?
Brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure designed to remove extra upper arm skin and fat to give you better proportioned upper arms. People who have experienced massive weight loss (either due to bariatric surgery or diet and exercise) and those with flabby skin of the upper arms from aging or genetics, are good candidates for this procedure. Loose skin generally has a limited ability to rebound back once stretched out, and a brachioplasty is often combined with additional procedures for additional aesthetic benefits*.
How does an arm lift procedure work?
During an arm lift, Dr. Gabbay first marks the areas of extra skin and fat, then administers anesthesia. Incisions will be made on the under-surface of the arm and excess skin and fat will be removed. A drain will be inserted, to carry excess fluids from the surgical area, before the incisions are closed and bandaged. The result of the procedure is minimal scarring and a more youthful and sculpted-looking arm*.
Will arm lift surgery be painful?
Postoperative pain varies considerably from patient-to-patient, and the average person will typically require oral pain medication to treat discomfort over a 5-7 day period*.
What are the common side effects after an arm lift?
After an arm lift procedure, some patients experience a feeling of tightness in the upper arm as the area swells resulting from the surgery*. Another common side effect that patients report is tingling of the hands and this, as well as other symptoms, resolve relatively quickly with time*.
Will there be scarring with arm lift surgery?
Upper arm reduction involves the removal of skin and fat, making a scar necessary. Depending on how much skin and fat needs to be removed, the scar can start near the elbow, traverse to the armpit, and sometimes cross onto the chest wall. No matter the incision choice, all scars go through a maturation process, that can take up to one year to complete, before they become inconspicuous. Some scars are placed on the inner arm so that it will not be visible when the patient’s arm is by their side, while others are placed towards the back of the arm, so that it is not visible from the front. The incision technique and location will be discussed in detail during your consultation.
How long does an arm lift procedure last?
A brachioplasty generally lasts from 1-3 hours, and most patients go home the day of their operation.
What type of anesthesia will be used for arm lift surgery?
Most arm lift surgeries are performed under a general anesthetic, although in some cases, a local anesthetic with sedation may be used.
How long is the recovery period for arm lift surgery?
The recovery period after an arm lift depends on whether the procedure is performed exclusively, or combined with other procedures. Generally, certain activities such as exercising, are restricted for up to two weeks, and you will be asked to wear a compression garment to aid in the healing process. Every patient heals differently, but by carefully following the instructions Dr. Gabbay provides, you will minimize potential problems and speed your recovery.
Will I have to stop smoking before my arm lift procedure?
Dr. Gabbay will advise you to stop smoking at least one month before and one month after surgery, because the nicotine in cigarettes decreases the blood supply to the skin. Blood supply is a very important factor to the healing process and it is imperative that this guideline is followed.
How do I know if I am a good candidate for an arm lift?
A good candidate for an arm lift is a person who has flabby arms, or a combination of excess fat and skin. Typically, the younger the patient the better, although age does not always matter, and the best candidates are those who are in good health and have realistic expectations about surgery.
Is there anything I need to do before my surgery?
To reduce bruising and the risk of hematoma, you will be advised to stop blood thinners and vitamin E at least one week before and after surgery. If you are taking prescription blood thinners, you may need to get medical clearance, and ask your doctor for instructions on how to stop taking your medications. You should also avoid all herbal medication and diet pills (prescription and over-the-counter) at least two weeks prior to surgery and one week following surgery. At Gabbay Plastic Surgery, you will be required to be in overall good health before your surgery will be performed.
What are the benefits of arm lift surgery?
Sagging upper arms are an embarrassment and they can dictate what a person wears. An arm lift will restore arms to a slimmer, well-contoured shape, allowing you to feel more confident about your appearance: especially in the summer when “sleeveless” is fashionable*. With the latest advancements in surgical technology, an arm lift is safer and more rewarding than ever because scarring is now kept to a minimum*.
When are the arm lift sutures removed?
If disposable stitches are not used for your procedure, the sutures will be removed between 1-2 weeks depending on the area of your surgery*.
What happens during my consultation?
During your first consultation at Gabbay Plastic Surgery, Dr. Gabbay will discuss your expectations, concerns, and tell you what you need to know about the arm lift procedure. Together you will determine if an arm lift is right for you and if so, your surgery will be scheduled and you will receive pre-surgery instructions.
Can other procedures be performed with an arm lift?
In many cases, when a patient has a good deal of weight loss they have several areas of the body that need rejuvenation, and they can be combined in one procedure to minimize the recovery time involved with separate surgeries. Some of the most popular procedures combined with an arm lift include breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), liposuction, and lower body procedures such as a buttock or thigh lift. During your consultation, your options will be discussed based on your individual circumstances.