Brachioplasty - plastic arms, hanging skin hanging on his hands. A plastic surgeon is preparing to tighten the skin of the hands.

What is Brachioplasty?

The upper arms are susceptible to change due to the effects of gravity, collagen loss, and weight fluctuations. Because the upper arms are also contoured by muscle, it is commonly misunderstood that exercising this part of the body can resolve the problem referred to as “bat wings.” While exercise can benefit the body as a whole and may somewhat help to improve the structure and strength of the arms, exercise cannot eliminate loose, sagging skin. This is what blepharoplasty does.

Brachioplasty is the surgical procedure performed to restore proportion and contours to the upper arms. The procedure, referred to as Brachioplasty, is carefully performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to address the unique needs of each patient.

Who is a candidate for an Arm Lift?

Adults who have excess skin that droops from the backs of the upper arms may be excellent candidates for Brachioplasty. The procedure can also address minor pockets of fatty tissue that have remained after significant weight loss. Because fluctuations in weight can directly influence the shape and proportions of the backs of the arms, patients who are in the process of losing weight may not be ideal candidates for arm contouring surgery. Once the goal weight has been achieved and maintained for months, Brachioplasty becomes an option for restoring better body proportions through precise tissue removal.

What are the benefits of Brachioplasty?

Brachioplasty contours the arms beautifully to eliminate bat wings. Through this procedure, the arms are restored to a slimmer circumference. Additionally, loose tissue no longer droops down when the arms are extended. The results of Brachioplasty are permanent. Aging continues and, with weight fluctuations, tissue on the backs of the arms may begin to sag at some point. However, Brachioplasty usually does not need to be repeated.

What are the risks of Brachioplasty?

Brachioplasty is generally considered a safe surgical procedure when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience conducting this technique. The risks that are associated with Brachioplasty are similar to all surgeries. They are influenced by various factors, including age and general health.

Surgical risks to be aware of include:

  • Anesthesia complications
  • Infection
  • Blood or fluid accumulation beneath the skin
  • Poor incision healing
  • Excessive swelling due to damaged lymphatic tissue
  • Persistent pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clots
  • Unsatisfactory aesthetic results

Does an Arm Lift procedure require anesthesia?

Yes. Brachioplasty is performed under general anesthesia. This is administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist who monitors vital signs throughout the procedure.

How is an Arm Lift procedure performed?

Brachioplasty is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. Two methods may be used, a limited-incision technique or a full-length incision method. This is determined by the extent of tissue tightening that is needed. If excess fat is present, the surgeon may also recommend liposuction to first improve the circumference of the arms. After removing excess fatty tissue, the surgeon makes the necessary incisions in a location that will be most discreet. Tissue that is tightened and reshaped is secured with internal sutures that gradually dissolve. After the internal structure is contoured, the surgeon then smooths the skin over internal muscle and connective tissue. Excess skin is trimmed and external sutures are made to close incisions.

At the conclusion of the Brachioplasty procedure, the arms are wrapped with a compression garment or elastic bandage. This helps to manage post-operative swelling. In some cases, the surgeon places small drains to help fluid escape from under the skin. This helps to prevent fluid or blood accumulation in the surgical site. Even though the arms are swollen, patients can visualize the improvement that has been achieved with surgery.

How long does a Brachioplasty procedure take?

Brachioplasty can take from 2 to 4 hours. This depends on the degree of contouring that needs to take place and whether or not the surgeon includes liposuction to remove small areas of excess fat. Patients will also spend a brief period in the recovery area where surgical staff can monitor them as they come out of anesthesia.

What is the recovery like after Brachioplasty?

Like many cosmetic procedures, Brachioplasty recovery typically occurs in 10 days. Patients return home a few hours after their procedure to begin their recovery. With arms bandaged, activities are restricted for a few weeks. During the first week, patients may take prescription pain medication to manage comfort. As swelling is most intense, patients may notice that their hands swell. Bracelets and rings should not be worn at this time. As is comfortable, patients may elevate their hands to help fluid travel away from their hands and arms.

After 5 to 7 days, patients are usually ready to switch to non-prescription pain medication. Swelling and bruising are improved but still apparent. Around day 10, a post-operative follow-up visit occurs. At this appointment, we remove drainage tubes, if they have been placed, and stitches. After this visit, patients may feel slightly more mobile. However, it is necessary to avoid lifting heavy objects or stretching the arms too far. Showering and other normal activities may resume after this point. Compression garments may still be advised at least when sleeping.

Two to four weeks after Brachioplasty, incisions may be closed. If desired, a scar therapy plan may begin. This may consist of a scar cream or silicone-based sheets. Swelling and bruising are usually resolved by one-month post-op. After 6 weeks, patients may be cleared for all normal activities.

What will the scarring look like after an Arm Lift?

Patients who undergo an arm lift can expect to have scars. Incisions are made in the most discreet area where scars may only be visible when the arms are raised. Once the incisions have completely closed, usually around 4 weeks post-op, patients may begin a scar treatment program to facilitate the healing process. Over time, scars can fade to be so light they are barely perceptible. 

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Schedule Your Arm Lift Consultation Today!

Interested in learning more about the Brachioplasty procedure? Give us a call at 973-243-2300 or schedule your consultation here with one of our physicians. We serve West Orange, Short Hills, and nearby areas in New Jersey!