If you have a lot of excess skin after weight loss in your arms, or the skin on your arms is just inherently loose, an “arm lift,” or brachioplasty, may be needed. This surgical procedure begins with an incision in the armpit region that, depending on the degree of correction, may continue along the inside of the upper arm down to the elbow. Excess fat is reduced if needed; the underlying tissue is tightened and reshaped and sagging skin is reduced.
Quick Facts About Arm Lift
What Is an Arm Lift?
Who Should Consider an Arm Lift
Women with hanging skin on the upper arms.
The ideal candidate for an arm lift is someone who has lost a significant amount of weight or someone whose skin is so thin that it won’t recoil after fat is removed with liposuction.
Who Should Not Consider an Arm Lift
Those who are not willing to accept the often-prominent scar that can run from a few inches to the full length of the inner upper arm—from the armpit to the elbow.
What to Expect With an Arm Lift
This procedure begins with an incision in the armpit that, depending on the degree of correction necessary, may continue down to the elbow. Excess fat is removed if needed, and the underlying tissue is tightened and reshaped before excess skin is removed.
Traditionally those who choose an arm lift have to accept the trade-off that comes along with surgery—the scar that often runs the length of the inside of the upper arm from the armpit to the elbow. But, many surgeons also offer a modified surgical lift of the upper arm to limit scars to the underarm region and the side of the chest some patients.
Traditional brachioplasty delivers youthful, firm arms, but many patients won’t show them off because of the scar. However, the promise of a less visible scar has a trade-off of its own; while recovering from this modified procedure, you can’t lift your arms above your shoulders for four to five weeks.
Post-Treatment Care: Arm Lift
To promote better healing after surgery, you may be given compression garments and silicone tapes or gels.
Once you have healed, Intense Pulsed Light and other light- and laser-based treatments may also help refine scars, but there’s no way to completely eliminate them.
Inside Tips: Arm Lift
- If you’re not a candidate for an arm lift or you’re looking at surgery as a last resort, skin-tightening treatments such as Thermage, Exilis or Accent Your Body, may be able to provide minimal improvement. More appropriate for very mild laxity or for those who are extremely active, these procedures are unpredictable and it’s impossible to predict who will see results.
- Thermage can also be used during arm lifts to address skin laxity at the time of surgery for optimal results.