What is an arm lift/reduction?
Changes in weight, growing older and genetics can cause your upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. Exercise may strengthen and improve the underlying muscle tone of the upper arm, but it cannot address excess skin that has lost elasticity or underlying weakened tissues and localized fat deposits.
If the underside of your upper arms are sagging or appear loose and full due to excess skin and fat, an arm lift may be right for you.
Results in a more toned and proportionate appearance, if you have excess fat you might need liposuction as well, reduces excess skin and fat between the underarm and the elbow, reshapes your arm to result in smoother skin and contours.
What is an arm lift/reduction?
It is a surgical procedure that reshapes the under portion of the upper arm, from the underarm region to the elbow. The procedure is performed to; Reduce excess sagging skin that droops downward, tighten and smooth the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm, reduce localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region.
Before and after
Is it the correct operation for me?
In general, candidates for an arm lift include:
- Adults with significant upper arm skin laxity
- Adults of any age whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight
- Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations.
You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle, you must be honest in your answers.
The following will be considered:
Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Standardised photographs must be taken for your medical record
- Otions and recommend a course of treatment
- Expected outcomes of arm lift surgery and any risks or potential complications.
Preparing for surgery
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to: have a preoperative screen and blood tests, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking four weeks advance of surgery, avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding. Special instructions you receive will cover: Post-operative care and follow-up, and What to do on the day of surgery.
You will need to wear a garment either a long sleved lycra cycling shirt, or order a post arm reduction garment from one of the many websites in the UK supplying such items prior to your surgery.
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anaesthesia. We will recommend the best choice for you.
Incision length and pattern depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as the best judgment of your plastic surgeon.Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, depending on the surgeon’s preference, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. If fat is to be reduced during your arm lift, it will be excised or treated with liposuction.
Inner Arm Incision (there are other variations including adding a fish tail proximally). Back of Arm Incision
.Minimal Incision (for more modest cases)
The minimal Incision Technique, with an incision hidden in the arm pit, can be supplemented by VASER liposelection, which can tighten the skin. However the tightenening is varable, and depends on skin type and thickness. This can be tried with the proviso that a further procedure might be required with a long inner arm scar.
Closing the incisions
I usually close your incisions with absorbable sutures, sometimes I use stitches that will be removed within 2 weeks following your arm lift. With the minimal incision techniques deep sutures are placed to the deep fascia. Drains will often be used, which will need to be removed.
The smoother, tighter contours that result from brachioplasty are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although initial results will be somewhat obscured by swelling and bruising. Your new, shapely and toned upper arm is much improved both in appearance and feel.
Complications associated with Arm Lift/Reduction
The decision to have arm lift surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits versus the risks and potential complications are acceptable. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
The risks include:
- Unfavourable scarring (eg thickened/keloid)
» Bleeding (hematoma)
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
» Anaesthesia risks (PE, DVT)
- Poor wound healing
- Skin loss
- Blood clots
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Major wound separation
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs
- Pain, which may persist
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Possibility of revision surgery
Potential complications will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions to me at the consultation.
After Discharge from Hospital
Wear your tapes for the first week, and then your post arm reduction garment for a further 5 weeks.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Surgery is not an exact science and although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Post Operative Care
Surgical incisions must not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. You will be given you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
It’s very important to ask us questions about your arm lift procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings.
Following your surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and your arms may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for the surgical site and drains, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
You will have tapes on for a week after surgery. You will see the nurse one week later for removal of tapes, and help into your garment. Generally absorbable sutures are used although sometimes sutures need to be removed at two weeks.
You can resume office/ normal activity at two weeks and exercise at six weeks? You will see the nurse at one week, and me at regular intervals?
The results will be long-lasting
The results of arm lift surgery will be long-lasting, provided that you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness, but most of your improvement should be relatively permanent.
How much will arm lift surgery cost?
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. The cost for an arm lift may vary based on the type of procedure used, as well as the hospital used. Some hospitals have cheaper costs, but very limited time slots, others have more availability, but higher costs, some of the more expensive hospitals have more extensive insurance in place (but this is not always the case). However a one off inclusive fee will be calculated. When choosing a plastic surgeon for an arm lift, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.