Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

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Individuals seeking to sculpt body areas that are resistant to diet and exercise may consider an arm lift, a surgical procedure designed to tighten and improve the appearance of the upper arms. The cosmetic effects of the natural aging process, substantial weight loss, genetics, and gravity often cause an excess amount of skin and fatty tissue to congregate between the inner elbows and underarms. This generally results in a loss of shape and definition in the region that cannot be effectively resolved through diet and exercise alone. A brachioplasty procedure can address these concerns by removing redundant loose or hanging skin from the area and tightening the underlying structures for an enhanced upper arm contour. Beverly Hills-trained plastic surgeon Geoffrey Leber, MD, FACS frequently combines an arm lift with liposuction techniques to restore a smooth, firm, and taut arm appearance and achieve maximal aesthetic enhancement.

What Can an Arm Lift Do for Me?

If you experience moderate to severe sagging in the upper arms, an arm lift can be an excellent solution to reestablish firmness and tone. The procedure is frequently performed to address loose, inelastic skin that is unable to contract and tighten around the new arm shape after significant weight loss. In general, a brachioplasty procedure can:

  • Remove excess skin in the upper arms
  • Pull remaining skin taut
  • Tighten the underlying structures that define the arm shape

While the final outcome of surgery will depend on the characteristics of your skin and unique cosmetic goals, an arm lift typically results in a sleeker arm appearance with improved visibility of definition and tone—especially if the brachioplasty procedure is combined with liposuction. Those considering an arm lift should be in reasonably good health and not have any future plans for significant weight loss. Dr. Leber can assess your cosmetic goals during a consultation and formulate an individualized treatment plan to attain your aesthetic ideal.

How is an Arm Lift Performed?

Dr. Leber performs an arm lift as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. An incision that extends from the underarm to the inner elbow allows him to access the supportive tissue, which will then be reshaped to achieve the desired result. Excess skin is removed and the remaining tissue is tightened for a natural-looking contour. Depending on your unique needs and preferences, liposuction may also be utilized to extract isolated fatty deposits and add firmness to the region. Although the duration of the procedure is contingent on the amount of enhancement planned, an arm lift generally takes one to two hours.

Short Scar Brachioplasty

For patients with minimal skin laxity and a small degree of excess skin near the underarm, a short scar brachioplasty may be enough to yield the desired improvement. This technique involves a much shorter incision than is traditionally utilized, with scarring concealed in the armpit. A short scar brachioplasty provides more conservative excision of redundant skin when compared to a full arm lift and achieves some degree of liposuction; however, this approach does not circumferentially remove excess skin in the upper arms, and therefore its benefits can be limited.

Patient Results

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What is Recovery Like for an Arm Lift?

After surgery, your new arm contour will be immediately noticeable and the outcome should improve as swelling dissipates. A surgical garment or bandages may be temporarily worn to minimize swelling and facilitate the healing process. It is normal to experience post-operative bruising or swelling, and any discomfort can usually be managed with oral pain medication. Most patients make a full return to normal activities within one to two weeks, although the specific duration of your healing period will depend on your treatment plan. While the effects of aging will continue, an arm lift is designed to provide long-lasting aesthetic enhancement and the surgical outcome can be prolonged through maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.