Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
An arm lift (brachioplasty) is a body contouring procedure that removes excess tissue from the arm creating a slimmer, shapelier appearance. Patients interested in this procedure are usually those who cannot improve this area with diet or exercise, have lost significant amounts of weight, or have lost skin elasticity.
BEFORE & AFTER
Arm Lift Overview
There are many reasons why someone might seek out an arm lift procedure. A fluctuation in weight, aging and genetics can play a role in causing your upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. In most cases, this condition cannot be corrected through exercise or diet alone.
This is where an arm lift comes into play. This procedure reduces excess sagging skin by tightening and smoothing underlying tissue, giving your arm definition. It also reduces areas of fat that exist on the upper portion of the arm.
During the procedure, Dr. Bray removes skin and fat from between the armpit and elbow. He then carefully sutures the incision back together, thereby tightening the skin.
Candidates for brachioplasty are adults that have significant upper arm skin laxity, even though they have a relatively stable weight. Candidates must also not have medical conditions that could impair healing or increase surgery risk. It should be noted that patients who have had a mastectomy or other operations involving the armpit lymph nodes should not undergo this procedure because of the increased risks. For those that are eligible for the procedure, recovery can take anywhere between 4-10 weeks.
The procedure itself is performed under general anesthesia and recovery will typically involve wearing a compression garment for a few weeks to reduce swelling.
Arm Lift Procedure Options
Options for arm lift surgery may be dictated by overall skin quality and extent of excess underarm fat. Dr. Bray will help you make the best decision. Options include:
Dr. Bray uses the energy-assisted BodyTITE™ liposuction for the majority of his liposuction patients. It is an excellent option if your skin has enough elasticity to shrink back down around the tissue that remains underneath, once the fat is removed. If your skin is not elastic, then fat removal can often increase the appearance of sagging skin rather than reducing it. Liposuction may be done on its own as a treatment for sagging skin or it may be combined with a standard arm lift as needed. Dr. Bray will assess your skin and body holistically to choose your best option.
Limited-incision arm lift (brachioplasty)
If the sagging skin on your arm is limited to just the near armpit area, Dr. Bray may be able to make a small incision in this area, pulling up the loose skin and tucking it into the armpit. Unlike most standard arm lifts, the incision site is typically located solely in the armpit region, where it is hidden from view. This is a rarer procedure due to many patients requiring more lifting, removing, and contouring of the skin. Dr. Bray can usually use BodyTITE™ liposuction to assist in this procedure.
Standard arm lift (brachioplasty)
If you have sagging skin extending from the armpit to the elbow, the only option is to undergo a standard Brachioplasty treatment which may remove the excess skin entirely. However, Dr. Bray does everything possible to work with the skin, rather than simply removing it. By strategically locating the incision site to be short, on the inner arm, he keeps it out of view in most positions. Most patients seeking an arm lift treatment will fall into this category and require a standard procedure.
Extended arm lift (brachioplasty)
This is a treatment option that removes excess or sagging skin that appears under the arm. Normally, these incision scars are quite long and appear behind the arm, and down the body. However, with Dr. Bray’s procedure, the scar rarely needs to extend so far, and in such a position. His incision length is as short as possible, on the inner arm, down to the body, and out of view in most positions. This procedure option is generally required for those who have lost a massive amount of weight and need a lift that is not concentrated on the arm alone.
Massive Weight Loss Brachioplasty Combined with Breast Lift
For patients who have had massive weight loss, Dr. Bray examines the body holistically to ensure all parts are balanced. In many cases, he combines a brachioplasty with a breast lift and lateral chest excision. This is because Dr. Bray tends to the torso as a single unit that must match with all its parts. Using this efficient method, several concerns are solved at once, and the upper body is left balanced and restored. As always, BodyTITE™ will be used when advantageous to ensure the skin is tighter.
What to Expect Before and During Treatment
A good candidate for arm lift surgery is someone who has loose, sagging skin under the arm. In these cases, the overall appearance of the arm can be marginally improved through vigorous exercise, but overall the loose, hanging underarm skin will remain an issue. If you are someone with this problem,and is in good health, then please contact Dr. Bray’s office for a consultation.
To prepare for an arm lift, Dr. Bray and our other specialists examine your medical history and undergo your physical examination. Our specialists and Dr. Bray will examine your body holistically to determine the right treatment option best suited to your unique case. During this pre-screening period, be sure to disclose any and all medical conditions as well as any medications you may be taking, including over the counter drugs and herbal supplements. If you use tobacco, you should stop immediately. Tobacco decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process in addition to creating other complications during the surgery itself. The more informed Dr. Brayis at this stage, the better they ensure your outcome is a success.
On the day of the procedure, Dr. Bray will create markings on your elbows, arms and armpits. The location, length and direction of these incision lines will be dictated by the extent of your arm lift. You will be provided a general anesthesia to ensure your comfort and safety. Strategic incisions will be made to ensure an effective surgery, quick recovery, and hidden scars. The actual surgery’s process is dependent on the best fit for you, decided by Dr. Bray and our onsite specialists. Once finished, Dr. Bray will follow up with you on a regular basis to safeguard the healing process and answer any questions you may have. As such, Dr. Bray is very involved in the post-operative process to ensure a smooth recovery.
You will be discharged the same day as the procedure. Dr. Bray will provide you with a list of all postoperative instructions. Please arrange for a friend or relative to drive you home and stay with you for a few days.
Preparing for Arm Lift Procedures
Medical conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, thyroid problems, diabetes or the regular use of certain medications may affect your surgery. If any of this applies to you, you should consult with a physician in our office first.
There should be no smoking of any sort of nicotine, vape or marijuana products for at least 6 weeks before your procedure, and until healing is complete afterwards. Continuing to do so may adversely affect your surgical outcome. We also advise not consuming alcohol at least a week prior to surgery.
Follow Dr. Bray's instructions concerning diet, hygiene and medications. Before any kind of surgery, your stomach should be empty - please do not eat or drink after midnight the day before the procedure.
Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes to allow an easy change of clothes before and after surgery. Please arrive without any jewelry, makeup or nail polish on the day of the procedure. If you wear contact lenses, please switch them out for glasses.
Plan enough time for your recovery. Taking a few days off from work will be essential. Patients usually require between 3 and 7 recovery days.
For your own safety, please make arrangements to have someone else pick you up after surgery. By law, you cannot drive immediately after your surgical operations.
In line with COVID-19 regulations, we have reassessed our cleaning and sterilization protocols. Upon arrival in our office we conduct symptom screenings with a questionnaire and check our patients’ temperature. We also require mask wearing for our staff and patients. COVID-19 testing before surgical procedures is mandatory in order to protect our staff. Please inform yourself regarding testing centers in your area and arrange for testing prior to your surgery.
We require a number of lab tests, diagnostic tests and medical evaluations leading up to your surgery. The nature of these tests will vary according to the procedure, your age, health, history, and other key health factors. Make sure to run all the necessary blood work and receive clearance before any surgical procedure. Necessary testing may change based on procedure, age, health, history and other factors.
Two weeks before surgery
It’s of utmost importance to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions regarding diet, supplements and medications. Stop drinking alcohol and smoking of any kind. Avoid exposure to sick people and quit taking blood thinning medications, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen and a number of supplements. Post-surgery preparations should be made, such as arranging transportation, getting time off from work, stocking up on food and anything else you will need post-surgery and making sure someone will stay with you during the first two days after the procedure.
Day before surgery
Figure out what you are going to wear, follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding pre-surgery fasting and any other preparation measures. Go to bed early and get well rested before your big day. We also recommend getting your house in order and buying ice packs to help with swelling after the surgery.
Arm Lift Post Op / Aftercare
The most effective way to minimize your risk of postoperative complications is to follow the advice and instructions provided by Dr. Bray. The timeline for recovery from an arm lift surgery may vary from person to person, but usually ranges from 4 – 10 weeks.
During your first week of recovery, you will have limited use of your arms. Be careful not to exert yourself or allow excessive rubbing or force on your incisions. Compression garments will need to be worn to aid the healing and minimize swelling. All sutures will be underneath the skin and dissolve over time, so no suture removal is required. Most patients can return to low-demand, office type work in about a week. Jobs with more physical demands will require a longer period of recovery. Most activities can be resumed after two weeks, although your doctor will recommend that you avoid major physical activity, particularly heavy lifting, for up to six weeks.
It is normal to experience discomfort, swelling, bruising and soreness after surgery; this should subside within a week or two. Oral pain medications can aid in reducing pain experienced during this time. The best way to minimize your discomfort is to follow all postoperative activity instructions including when and how to wear your compression garment, and how to treat your incisions.
Significant complications from an arm lift are possible, though very unlikely. Potential complications to consider include adverse reaction to anesthesia, infection and/or bleeding, numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the arms, chronic arm pain or sensitivity, and arm stiffness. However, Dr. Bray takes the utmost precautions, and provides his patients with exceptional pre- and post-operative care.
You should notice immediate improvements in the appearance and contour of your arms, though they may be temporarily obstructed by swelling. After around six weeks, results are more evident, as much of the major postoperative swelling will have subsided. You will likely have permanent scarring in the locations that the incisions are placed; however, Dr. Bray’s strategic incisions greatly reduce the sight of these. Moreover, your incision lines will also continue to refine as you heal. Arm lift results are long-lasting, but firmness can be lost as a result of aging and weight gain. It is best to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen to ensure long lasting results.
Complications From Arm Lifts
Potential complications with arm lifts include:
- Opening of the wound
- Discomfort for 1 to 4 weeks
- Bleeding and bruising around the surgical sites
- Loss of sensation over the surgical site and around the scar
- Fluid accumulation (seroma and hematomas)
- Infection (extremely rare)
- Nerve damage and temporary loss of sensation in certain areas
RECOMMENDED SURGERIES WITH ARM LIFTS
Who is a good candidate for an arm lift?
A good candidate for arm lift surgery is someone who has loose, sagging skin under the arm that cannot be reduced with diet and exercise alone. In these cases, the overall appearance of the arm can be marginally improved through vigorous exercise. But in many cases,this skin will remain an issue which cannot be resolved through exercise. If you have this problem and are in good health, you are an excellent candidate for an arm lift. Please contact Dr. Bray for a consultation if you have any questions.
Are all arm lift procedures the same?
No. There are several arm procedures that can be tailored to a patient’s preferences and requirements. In the planning process, Dr. Bray will consider many factors, including overall skin quality, extent of excess underarm fat, and other areas of your body that may require rejuvenation to create a balanced, healthy look.
Is arm lift surgery painful?
Because surgery is performed with the patient under general anesthesia, there is no pain felt during the operation. It is normal to experience discomfort, swelling, bruising and soreness after surgery, but this typically subsides within a week or two. Oral pain medications can aid in reducing post-surgery pain. The best way to minimize your discomfort is to follow all postoperative activity instructions including when and how to wear your compression garment and how to treat your incisions.
What kind of scarring can I expect from arm lift surgery?
As with any surgery, an arm lift surgery will likely leave some form of scarring. The size and visibility of scars will depend largely on the extent of the surgery. To hide the scar in most positions, Dr. Bray’s incision site is on the inner arm. These incision lines, though, will fade slightly, flatten out, and refine as you heal. Dr. Bray is very involved in the healing process, ensuring the healing is smooth and effective.
How long will the results of an arm lift last?
The longevity of an arm lift will depend on the nature of the surgery and your skin. In general, the results of a standard arm lift should last decades. Although there is potential for firmness to be lost as a result of aging and weight gain, a healthy diet and regular exercise ensures longer-lasting results.
When can I begin exercising after surgery?
To ensure proper healing and recovery, it is critical that post-surgery precautions are taken and exercise restrictions are followed. Most activities can be resumed after two weeks, though you will still want to abstain from any movements that put significant strain on the recovering areas. Dr. Bray will recommend that you avoid major physical activity, particularly heavy lifting, for up to six weeks. If any discomfort or bleeding occurs during exercise, even while taking the necessary precautions, the activity should be ceased immediately.
*INDIVIDUAL RESULTS MAY VARY
Schedule a private consultation with Dr. Bray by submitting the form below or calling his offices directly at 416-323-1330.