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Brachioplasty / Arm Lift

Am I a candidate for Brachioplasty?

This procedure is best suited for women and men who have loose upper arm skin that hangs in an unattractive appearance. Frequently this is the result of a large amount of weight loss and is termed “bat wings” by many people but can also occur when the skin just loses its elasticity. Liposuction alone can frequently take care of excess fat in the upper arm but will not address the loose skin. The procedure involves excising the excess skin and fat on the arm from the axilla (armpit) out to the elbow. The scar that remains in the area can be hard to hide. Some patients will have the excision extended down their side to excise loose skin in the case of a large amount of weight loss.

The Consultation

A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering brachioplasty surgery. During this meeting, we will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific cosmetic goals for the procedure. The quality of your skin and the amount of excess fat will be assessed at your initial consultation. This exam will allow us to determine if you just need liposuction alone, limited incision brachioplasty (axillary incision only), or a normal brachioplasty (incision out to the elbow).

The Procedure

Before going into the operating room, you will be marked for incisions and areas for liposuction in the standing position. You will then go to the operating room and be placed under a general anesthetic. Incisions will then be made along the anterior markings made in the holding area. The area marked for excision will then be slowly freed from the underlying tissues and carefully checked for tension before the final excision to help ensure that the wound can be closed without stress. The wound is usually closed with dissolving sutures; drains may also be in place. Dressings will be placed, and you will be taken to the recovery room.

The Recovery

Day of Surgery

After your surgery, you will spend approximately one hour in the recovery room. The Recovery Room nurse will show you how to strip and empty your drains. A friend or family member will need to drive you home. You can expect some swelling to occur initially. A compression sleeve will help minimize the swelling. Keep a daily output log if drains are placed.

Day 1 (After Surgery)

Take it easy and keep your arms propped up on pillows beside you when you are resting. It is not uncommon to have drainage on your garment. Take pain medication as directed.

Days 2 to 7 (After Surgery)

Shower today. If drains were placed, drape a shoelace or bungee cord around your neck and secure the ends to the loop on the drain bulb. This will keep tension off of the drains while showering. Your swelling and discomfort will slowly improve. A compression shirt such as Under Armour can be worn when laundering the surgical garment. You may gradually increase your activity. Continue to elevate your arms when resting. You will be asked to come to the office about seven days after your surgery. Bring your drain record to your appointment.

After 1st Week

Pain and swelling continue to improve. Drains will be removed at this time. Most people feel up to working and doing light activities. A long sleeved compression shirt may be worn.

After 1st Month

Most people are well healed at this time. There will be a small amount of swelling still present, however. After this visit, you will have no restrictions after 6 weeks.