Arm Lift – Brachioplasty

Fluctuations in weight, aging and even heredity can cause changes in appearance that you might not expect.  One such change that can occur in the upper arm results in a droopy, sagging, batwing-like appearance.  Fitness may strengthen and improve underlying muscle tone of the upper arm, but it cannot address excess skin that has lost elasticity or underlying weakened tissues and localized fat deposits. Patients throughout the Capital District areas of Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga trust New York Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lucie Capek to perform their arm lift surgery. Many of our patients also travel from New York City, Vermont, Massachusetts and beyond to receive her skilled and compassionate care.

If the underside of your upper arms has developed sagging, droopy skin, or appears loose and full due to excess skin and fat, an arm lift may be right for you. In general, an arm lift reduces excess skin and underlying fat that occurs between the underarm region in the elbow, reshaping the arm to result in smoother skin and more normal contours. An arm lift results in a more toned and proportionate appearance, enhancing your self-confidence and expanding your fashion choices. The trade-off to your improved image is a resulting scar on the inside of your upper arm.

Am I a good candidate?

You may find that you have loose, hanging underarm skin that is unable to be corrected with exercise. Here are some common reasons why patients consider an arm lift:

  • You have lost a significant amount of weight and are finished losing weight, but left with excessive underarm skin.
  • You’re an adult with hanging underarm skin due to aging
  • You are a non-smoker
  • You are committed to maintaining diet and exercise

If you have realistic expectations and are in general good health, you are most likely a candidate for this procedure. However, a consultation with Dr. Capek is necessary to determine your candidacy.

Before Your Procedure

Your plastic surgeon will carefully explain the technique for your arm lift.  Prior to any surgery, you will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • Pre-surgical considerations, diagnostic testing, and medications
  • Day of surgery instructions and medications
  • Specific information related to the use of anesthesia
  • Postoperative care and follow-up

In addition, you will be asked to sign consent forms to assure your plastic surgeon that you full understand the procedure or procedures you will undergo and any associated risks and potential complications.

Possible risks of an arm lift include bleeding, infection, fluid accumulation, delayed or poor healing, skin loss, blood clots, excessive or widened scars, numbness and other changes in skin sensation and irregular or asymmetric contour or scars.  Any surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia.  These risks and others will be fully disclosed prior to your consent.

It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.  It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcomes or preoperative stress.

Your Procedure

If you have minor excess skin, or it’s still early in sagging, SmartLipo or Precision Tx treatments may be less invasive options to tighten this area. However, if you have more significant hanging skin, a traditional arm lift may be an effective solution for you. During the procedure, Dr. Capek surgically removes the excess skin, and in some cases, incorporates liposuction.

Traditional arm lifts are usually performed under general anesthesia. Dr. Capek begins by creating a minimalistic incision placed inside of the upper arm, which varies in length depending on the amount and location of the skin being removed. If you also wish to reduce excess fat during your arm lift, she will incorporate a liposuction technique, such as VASER LipoSelection, SmartLipo, or power-assisted liposuction

Once the excess skin and fat are removed, Dr. Capek will tighten the supportive tissues and reshape the arm with internal sutures. The skin is then smoothed over your newly contoured arm. Although the procedure will leave a scar on the inside portion of your upper arm, it heals in an inconspicuous location natural with your body shape. Many patients find this to be a fair tradeoff for eliminating their “bat wings”. This is a satisfying and relatively safe procedure that can improve your self-image, so you can wear tank tops and swimsuits again with confidence.

After Your Procedure

Following your arm lift, your arms will be swollen and bruised, and you will experience some discomfort. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. You will be instructed to keep your arms elevated for several days following surgery and return to light walking as soon as possible to minimize the potential for blood clots and other complications.

You will also be instructed to avoid lifting or bearing any weight on your arms for several days to weeks. Your surgeon may also advise you to limit your range of motion until internal healing is complete. You will be ready to return to work and light, normal activities within a few days, as long as you do not engage in any lifting or vigorous exercise. Follow all instructions carefully – this is essential to the success of your outcome.

Your incisions will heal within 7 to 14 days, after which time sutures will be removed if necessary. Additional healing will continue for many weeks as swelling resolves and incision lines continue to improve. Numbness and a firm feeling over the skin’s surface will resolve over time. You must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process is fully completed or skin in the treated area may develop irregular pigmentation and scars may become raised, red or dark. It may take a year or more following a given procedure for incision lines to refine and fade to some degree. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.

What are the risks?

Significant complications from arm lift procedures are very rare, especially when performed by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Capek. However, all surgical procedures carry some risk, including adverse reaction to anesthesia, infection, bleeding, and changes in sensation. In any case, you can help minimize the chance of complications by following Dr. Capek’s instructions and advice before and after your surgery.

If you are dissatisfied with excess skin and fat deposits underneath your upper arms, it’s a great time to schedule a consultation with Dr. Capek to determine which procedure is right for you. Contact our Albany, NY practice today. Our office is just  9 miles from Schenectady and 5 miles from Troy, New York.