An arm lift, occasionally called a brachioplasty is a type of cosmetic surgery that treats sagging underarms by reducing excess skin, tightening and smoothing tissue and taking out excess fat. This can make your upper arms look more toned and well-defined.
Aging and genetics play a role in the development of sagging skin. You might also be left with excess skin after losing a lot of weight. Regardless of what’s causing your sagging skin, there are some things to keep in mind when considering an arm lift.
Preparing for an arm lift
You can take steps in the weeks and months prior to the surgery to make your arm lift as safe and effective as possible. If you smoke, quitting one to two months before surgery can significantly reduce your risk of complications.
Some weeks before your arm lift, your doctor will give you a preoperative evaluation. They’ll make sure you’re ready for surgery by looking at your present health and medical history. This is also a good time to ask your doctor any questions or bring up any concerns you have about the arm lift.
They’ll start by checking for any underlying medical conditions that could make surgery unsafe. Your preoperative evaluation might also include:
- Lab work
- A chest X-ray
- An electrocardiogram
- A prescription for preoperative medication.
- Adjusting your dose of present medications and supplements.
The results of your preoperative evaluation will help your doctor to determine the safest approach for surgery. You’ll also need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen two weeks before surgery.
The arm lift procedure
On the day of your surgery, your doctor starts by marking your arm where they want to make incisions. There are various ways of performing an arm lift but the most common ones involve incisions on the inside or back your arms. Other options include an armpit incision or one that goes from the top of your elbow to your armpit.
You’re then given either local or general anesthesia, depending on the surgical method your doctor decides to use. Following the marks they made on your arm, your doctor goes in and tightens or reshapes the tissue in your upper arm. They then pull your skin back over the tissue and close the incision with stitches.
If there are excess fat that might make it hard for your arm to fully heal, your doctor may use liposuction at the same time to take out that fat. The whole procedure is usually done within three hours.
After the surgery, you’ll need someone to drive you home from the appointment and stay with you overnight to make sure you don’t have any problems.
Arm lift risks
Like all surgeries, an arm lift has risks. Besides pain and infection, you might also have:
- Excessive bleeding
- Permanent scarring
- Fluid buildup
- Nerve, muscle or blood vessel damage.
- Fatty tissue death
General anesthesia also has its own risks like:
- Heart attack
- Death in rare cases
A very small number of people remain partially awake under general anesthesia. Be sure to go over possible risks with your doctor so you can learn how to identify them and get treatment.
Recovering from an arm lift
As you recover from surgery, you might need to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling. Your doctor might also insert a temporary drainage tube in your arm to drain any fluid or blood that accumulates after surgery.
Your doctor will provide you with postoperative care instructions to take home. These will cover how to take care of your wounds, which medicines to take and when, warning signs to look for and a timeline for follow-up appointments.
It’s necessary to also avoid smoking while you recover from an arm lift. Smoking slows down the healing process, which increases your risk of developing permanent scarring or infections.
You should be able to go back to work or school and resume some activities within two weeks. Within six weeks, you should be able to go back to your normal activity level. Inform your doctor about any pain or problems after the initial recovery period.
: The information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by Surjen.com.