Especially in the warmer months, men and women alike want to show their arms in tank tops, t-shirts, and bathing suits. Unfortunately, sagging, lax skin on the upper arms can make it difficult to feel comfortable in these garments. Despite intense exercise and weight training, this excess skin — often referred to as “bat wings” — can be impossible to get rid of.
An arm lift can help. Also known as brachioplasty, upper arm lifts tighten, sculpt, and shape the upper arms for a sleeker, smoother appearance. The procedure will not only remove excess skin, but it will also take care of small pockets of fat for beautiful, natural-looking results.
The benefits of an arm lift are both aesthetic and psychological.
Even in long-sleeved tops, but especially in tank tops, short-sleeved garments, and bathing suits, you naturally want your upper arms to look sleek and trim. Unfortunately, many people struggle with “bat wings” on their upper arms, and in these cases, an arm lift is often the only procedure that can fix the issue.
If excess skin on the upper arms is significant, it can sometimes cause discomfort and hygiene issues. Excess skin folds may cause rashes and be difficult to clean properly. In some cases, chronic inflammation becomes a problem. An arm lift can correct these issues.
Lastly, individuals who undergo arm lift surgery find that they have significantly improved self-esteem. They no longer feel compelled to hide the excess skin and fat on their arms, especially in the summer when it’s too hot to hide beneath long-sleeved shirts and sweaters. Arm lift surgery can be an instant confidence booster in this regard.
Ideal candidates for arm lift surgery are bothered by excess loose skin on the upper arms and frequently, small bits of stubborn fat in the same area. This fat is often impossible to remove, even through strict diet and exercise.
It is also important that candidates be in good overall health so that adequate recovery can be achieved after the procedure. Finally, you should be at or near a stable, healthy weight. If you still have weight you’d like to lose, aim to lose it before scheduling your surgery.
Weight Loss and Excess Skin
Many arm lift patients have recently achieved significant weight loss — either through surgery or with diet and exercise. This experience can cause excess laxity in the skin of the upper arms as the skin is stretched beyond its normal limit with weight gain and unfortunately retains this stretch even after weight loss.
Certain body types may also be predisposed to excess skin on the upper arms. And sometimes, it’s simply time and gravity that are the culprits.
Your journey toward arm lift surgery starts by making a consultation appointment with Dr. Aghayan. Bring a brief medical history with you as well as a list of any medications or supplements you are taking. In some cases, Dr. Aghayan will need to adjust these as you near your surgery date.
You should also discuss the specific areas and features you would like to improve with Dr. Aghayan at your consultation appointment. He will give you a short physical exam and talk to you about your options before scheduling the surgery.
Unless you are undergoing multiple procedures at one time, your arm lift surgery will likely be performed in an outpatient facility. This means you’ll be able to go home from the facility on the same day as your procedure. Still, be sure to have a trusted friend or family member present who can drive you.
After being given general anesthesia, the procedure itself will take several hours to complete. Dr. Aghayan specializes in placing the necessary incisions as discreetly as possible. Once the proper incisions are made, the excess skin will be removed from the elbow to the armpit. In some cases, liposuction will also be used to remove excess fat. Finally, the skin will be pulled taut, and the incisions will be carefully closed.
Most patients who undergo arm lift surgery do not experience complications and heal and recover well. However, as with any invasive surgery, there are some associated risks and complications to be aware of. These include:
You use your arms every day for nearly all the activities you do, so giving them a rest can be a challenge. Still, it is critical that you allow your body time to heal after surgery.
During your recovery period, be sure to follow all instructions given to you by Dr. Aghayan, including wearing the compression garments you will be provided. You should also avoid physical activity, including exercise and heavy lifting, for at least four to five weeks. After a while, you can begin to take short walks, but wait for Dr. Aghayan’s okay.
Most patients are able to have their sutures removed at an appointment that will be set approximately 10 days after surgery. Dr. Aghayan will notify you when you are able to return to normal activities, including work and exercise. If you encounter any excessive swelling, unusual scarring, numbness, or the accumulation of fluid or if you have uncontrolled bleeding or signs of infection, contact our office immediately.
Many arm lift patients are interested in improving other parts of their bodies as well. Here are a few procedures you may consider as good complements to brachioplasty.
If your main reason for undergoing an arm lift is because of excess skin caused by significant weight loss, chances are, you’re experiencing this issue on other parts of your body as well.
Most notably, weight loss patients also struggle with excess skin on the abdomen. A tummy tuck can take care of this problem by removing excess abdominal skin and tightening the underlying muscles.
Liposuction is a routine cosmetic procedure that removes small pockets of stubborn fat from areas like the abdomen, flanks, buttocks, and thighs. If you’re interested in slimming any of these areas, liposuction can be a great procedure to add to your arm lift procedure.
General anesthesia is used during arm lift surgery; therefore, you will not feel pain during the procedure. Afterward, however, you may have some slight soreness and discomfort as well as bruising and swelling.
The worst period will be over the first few days of recovery. From there, discomfort should improve with each passing day.
Certain noninvasive skin tightening treatments are available; however, these only offer small improvements. An arm lift is the optimal choice when moderate to severe skin laxity is present. Another advantage of the arm lift procedure is that liposuction can be used simultaneously.
In order to remove excess skin from the armpit to the elbow, an incision must be made along this entire span (from the armpit to the elbow), and this will cause a scar. Fortunately, Dr. Aghayan will make this incision as discreetly as possible, usually on the inside of the upper arm.
A scar will be present after arm lift surgery, but it will eventually become soft and flexible and should fade with time. The best way to make your arm lift scar as discreet as possible is to closely follow the postoperative care instructions provided to you by Dr. Aghayan after surgery