Brachioplasty (Arm Lift).

There are many procedures which change the shape or contour of the body. I have discussed most of these elsewhere – liposuction, breast and trunk surgery. Liposuction changes the shape of the arms or legs as a specific procedure too.

The remaining body contouring procedures to discuss here are those I use when there is loose arm or leg skin, or shape issues in the limbs which might require skin or soft tissue removal in order to achieve a better shape.

The basics

Loose, large or poorly shaped arms are often sources of distress to patients. Most of my patients with these issues are massive weight loss patients, but not all – the problem of poor or large arm shape can be inherited.

The upper arm is a cylinder in shape, with fixed defined ends – the shoulder and elbow.

The purpose of the surgery is to create a smooth and even shape, by removing the excess fat and skin, where diet and exercise can’t achieve this.

Treatment will depend on the quality, amount and elasticity of the skin. If it is firm, liposuction can be used to remove the excess fat, making a slimmer and better-shaped arm. These are pure liposuction procedures.

Where the skin is loose, it must be removed to achieve a good result and this leaves a scar.

In most cases, the scar will be placed along the inner arm vertically – from armpit to inner elbow. With an arm lift, sometimes an armpit incision is used and occasionally this is all that’s required.

Arm lift is not usually a difficult operation to get through. The scars often take quite some time to fade, and there will be some patchy skin numbness in the area of surgery. However tight it is stitched, the skin will soften and loosen to an extent in the few months after operation.

What can I expect to achieve from an arm lift?

Surgical reduction of the upper arm has few complications and a fairly quick recovery time. Usually only one night in hospital is required, with rest and elevation for a few days. Some loosening of the skin occurs over a month or two, but in general the results are good. Scars may need touching up from time to time.


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