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Arm lift

Arm lift

An arm lift — also known as brachioplasty — is a cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the under portion of your upper arms. During an arm lift, excess skin and fat is removed from the underarms — between the armpit and elbow. The skin is then draped back over the newly repositioned contours to create a more toned look. You might choose to have an arm lift if the undersides of your upper arms are sagging. An arm lift might also boost your body image.

Why its done?

As you get older, the skin on your upper arms changes — sagging and becoming loose. Significant weight loss can also cause the undersides of your upper arms to droop.
You might consider an arm lift if:

  • Your upper arm skin is drooping
  • You have excess fat in the undersides of your upper arms

While exercise can strengthen and improve muscle tone in the upper arm, it can't address excess skin that has lost elasticity. An arm lift isn't for everyone. Your doctor might caution against an arm lift if you:

  • Are significantly overweight
  • Have frequent changes in your weight

Risks

An arm lift poses various risks, including:

  • Scarring Incision scars from an arm lift are permanent, but typically placed in areas that aren't easily visible. Rarely, incisions can result in raised, red scars. Injections of a corticosteroid medication or other treatments might be used to improve the appearance of scars.
  • Asymmetry in the shape of your arms This could occur as a result of changes during the healing process. Also, surgery might not successfully correct pre-existing asymmetry.
  • Changes in skin sensation During an arm lift, the repositioning of your arm tissues can affect superficial sensory nerves. You'll likely feel some temporary numbness.
  • Problems with stitches Stitches used to secure the arm's new shape might work their way to the surface of the skin and need to be removed. This can cause inflammation of the affected skin. As a result, you might need additional surgery.

How you prepare

  • Review your medical history Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions. Talk about any medications you're taking or have taken recently, as well as any surgeries you've had.
  • Do a physical exam To determine your treatment options, the doctor will examine the undersides of your upper arms. The doctor might also take pictures of your arms for your medical record.
  • Discuss your expectations Explain why you want an arm lift and what you're hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the benefits and risks, including scarring.

Before an arm lift you might also need to:

  • Stop smoking Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
  • Avoid certain medications You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
  • Arrange for help during recovery Make plans for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you as you begin to recover.