Brachioplasty/Arm Lift & Reduction
Many patients come to Smith Platic Surgery for a consultation regarding an “arm lift” or a reduction in the size of their arms. An arm lift, also known as a Brachioplasty, is very useful for people with arms that are too large. During the procedure, Dr. Smith removes the extra skin effectively making the width of the upper arm smaller and thinner.
What Are The Benefits Of An Arm Lift?
As we age, the skin of the arms can hang and be unattractive. This can also happen after massive weight loss and with weight gain. The hanging skin is usually most prominent in the upper arm area. Some people unflatteringly refer to these as “bat wings”. Often people with this condition will not wear short-sleeved shirts or blouses, even in very hot weather. Usually, the problem is mostly in the upper arm area above the elbow with the lower arm area being relatively normal in width (thickness).
Can Liposuction Of The Arm Help Me?
In some cases, liposuction is all that is needed to correct this problem (see section on liposuction).* However, if there is truly an excess of skin, liposuction alone will simply cause to the skin to hang more and make the problem worse. When there is an excess of skin, liposuction must be combined with some type of skin excision. Dr. Smtih will perform a Brachioplasty when there is an excess of skin and liposuction alone is not an option.
Is A Long Scar Necessary To Remove Excess Skin?
Unfortunately, in order to remove skin, a long scar is necessary. The scar runs from the armpit area down to the elbow. Sometimes some of the scars will be in the armpit also. To help hide the scar, Dr. Smith will place it on the inside of the arm so it is less visible (unless the arms are lifted). If you are not willing to accept a long scar, you should not have this procedure.
How Is The Arm Lift Surgery Performed?
Dr. Smith typically performs the surgery under general anesthesia, and the procedure usually takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Usually, Dr. Smith will also include some liposuction with this procedure. Following the liposuction, the skin and remaining fat are elevated off the arm muscles, with the extra trimmed off. Dr. Smith then closes the incision. The exact same procedure is done on the other arm.
What Can I Expect In Terms Of Pain, Recovery, And Healing?
After you recover from surgery, usually about one hour, you will be able to go home (outpatient surgery.) Patients tend to experience bruised, swollen and tight arms following the surgery. You may even experience some numbness and these symptoms are considered normal. The swelling may extend even down the arm and all the way to the hand. It is important to keep the arms elevated on some pillows for a couple of days. Ice is also useful. Usually, the pain is not severe. If it is severe, it is important to notify Dr. Smith immediately.
What About Returning To Work And Exercising?
A patient can usually return to work after seven days provided he or she does not have to do a lot of heavy lifting or use the arms a lot. Most of the swelling and bruising subsides by about two weeks, but some swelling will persist for up to three months. Also, any heavy exercise or arm use may cause some swelling to occur even as long as six months after surgery. Dr. Smith and his medical team will discuss the time frame for exercise. Typically any exercise involving your arms is not allowed until seven to eight weeks after surgery. The scar is usually very red and visible at first. However, the scars should fade and improve for up to 2 years. After 2 years the scars are usually, but not always, light and often not easily seen.*
An arm lift is the best option when a person has a large amount of excess hanging arm skin. With 4 separate board-certifications in plastic surgery, Dr. Smith posses more than 10 years of experience performing Brachioplasty procedures. For more information on the arm lift procedure by Smith Plastic Surgery Institute please feel free to contact us today to schedule your consultation by calling (702) 838-2455 or clicking the link below.