Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure and how are they handled?
- How can I expect my arms to look over time?
1. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
In general, candidates for an arm lift include:
- Adults with significant upper arm skin laxity
- Adults of any age whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations.
2. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
First, medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Dr. Hsu will recommend the best choice for you. Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as Dr. Hsu's best judgment. Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. If fat is to be reduced during your arm lift, it will be excised or treated with liposuction.
Depending on your specific conditions, incisions may be more limited. Then, underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm. Your incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures, or stitches that will be removed within 1-2 weeks following your arm lift. The smoother, tighter contours that result from brachioplasty are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although initial results will be somewhat obscured by swelling and bruising. Your new, shapely and toned upper arm is dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.
3. What surgical technique is recommended for me?
These decisions will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and in consideration of your preference and Dr. Hsu's best judgment. Dr. Hsu and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
4. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
Following your surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and your arms may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
Most patients take about a week off from work and other obligations to heal. During the recovery period, Dr. Hsu will require you to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and provide support for the tissues of the arm. To help the recovery process, keep the arm elevated and avoid heavy lifting for at least a few weeks after surgery. Patients can experience soreness, tenderness, tightness, bruising, swelling, and redness as their arms heal.
5. What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure and how are they handled?
As with all surgical procedures, arm lifts do come with some risks, including negative reactions to anesthesia, blood clots, and infection. After surgery, the skin of the arms may feel as though it is stretched too tight, although this feeling should subside as the tissues become used to their new contours. There is also a risk of visible scarring, particularly in more extensive procedures that require an incision running the length of the arm. Nerve damage that occurs when excess tissue is cut could lead to temporary or permanent numbness or changes in skin sensitivity.
6. How can I expect my arms to look over time?
As long as your weight does not fluctuate, you should expect the results of your upper arm lift to last for many years. Your body will continue to age, including your skin. This may lead to loose skin in the future. If you gain considerable weight after the surgery and then lose the weight, loose skin will return. In either scenario, subsequent arm laxity will be far less significant than before your surgery.