What is a Brachioplasty?

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Arm lift (brachioplasty) removes excess skin that hangs off the back of the arm, best judged with the arms held up to the side at right angles (sometimes referred to as the the “stick up” position).

Brachioplasty or arm lift is very effective in correcting the loose, hanging skin following weight loss or with aging skin.Dr. Walker's unparalleled plastic surgery skills can help you achieve the slender arms you're looking for.

Who is an ideal candidate for arm lift surgery?

The best candidate has relatively little fat and a bothersome amount of skin that hangs and “waggles” with movement. If the arm is heavy with fat, liposuction may be a better option. When both problems coexist (obesity and laxity), staging may be the best option since liposuction leads to more swelling which can compromise the amount of skin removed.

Even more problematic, extensive liposuction combined with brachioplasty can cause problems with circulation as the arm swells from liposuction against skin that is tightened by the lift, acting like a tourniquet. In these cases it’s often best to have the liposuction first, let it heal completely, then proceed with the skin removal for the optimal result.

How long will an arm lift surgery take?

Before and after brachioplastyThese procedures take from 1 to 3 hours with Dr. Walker, depending upon the amount of loose skin and fat that need to be removed. For instance, if the patient doesn’t have extensive loose skin, Dr. Walker may use a minimal-incision arm lift that uses a few small incisions near the underarm rather than one long incision on each arm, and this makes the procedure simpler. If this is an option, Dr. Walker will discuss this with you during your consultation.

What will my recovery from brachioplasty be like?

Recovery from arm lift surgery is not difficult. The key to a successful recovery is to avoid lifting much with your arms. As you would assume, lifting too much weight can strain your incisions and your tightened muscles and create complications. 

After your procedure with Dr. Walker, you’ll return home with your arms wrapped in bandages. You’ll likely have drainage tubes on your incisions. You’ll be given compression garments for both arms to minimize swelling and help your arms adapt to their new contour. It’s important to wear these garments during your recovery. There will be swelling, due to the tissue repositioning, but it should be mostly gone in around two weeks. It will return at times, and you can lessen it by keeping your arms elevated as much as possible during your early recovery. It helps to sleep with your arms elevated for the first two weeks. Within one to two weeks, you can return to work, but strenuous activity and lifting will need to wait. Recovery after an arm lift is not a time to push things by lifting or working your arms. Dr. Walker will discuss returning to certain forms of exercise and lifting heavier objects when she sees how your recovery is progressing.

Does an arm lift involve a painful recovery?

 These are not overly painful recoveries. The nerve coverage in the area of your incision is not as extensive as other areas of your body. One key is to try and keep your arms elevated as much as possible. This helps to increase circulation and reduce swelling. You can use pillows to prop your arms up. Also, wear comfortable, loose clothing that is easy to put on and take off. That way you won’t inadvertently bump your arm.

When can I begin exercising after brachioplasty? 

Patients who do a lot of upper body workouts don’t like to hear this, but for the first month, you need to avoid any exercises that directly stress the area and engage your upper arm muscles. This involves all weightlifting with the arms. After one month you can start cardiovascular activity, such as riding a stationary bike or brisk walking. You still need to wait on lifting or contact sports, however, for another two weeks. At six weeks you should be able to return to your normal exercise routines. During your follow-up appointments with Dr. Walker, she can give you a timeframe when you can return to certain specific types of exercise routines.

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Will there be any scarring after my arm lift?

In the patient with loose skin and little fat, the procedure involves the tradeoff of a visible scar for the removal of the problematic skin. This scar can fade very nicely but will always be present, extending from the armpit to the elbow on the inner aspect of the arm.

I find that we can demonstrate a pretty realistic result during consultation by drawing the pattern on the skin with a water color and pinching it together under no tension.

After looking at before and after pictures of other patients, this demonstration helps decide if this procedure is right for you.

How should I prepare for an arm lift? 

There isn’t much you need to do to prepare for your arm lift with Dr. Walker. As with any surgery, prior to your procedure you’ll need to stop taking any blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medication, and many supplements for one week. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop for at least two weeks before and after your surgery, as smoking can interfere with your healing. 

The main aspect that may need attention prior to your surgery is lifting. The key to a successful recovery is to avoid lifting much with your arms. As you would assume, lifting too much weight can strain your incisions and create complications. So, if you need to lift things around the house that are more than the weight of a gallon of milk, you’ll need help with that. The same is true if you need to lift items at work. It will be between 4 and 6 weeks before you can lift heavy objects once again. Reaching out to grasp an item will also be problematic initially, so you’ll want to bring everyday items you may need down from cabinets and place them on the counter.

Can an arm lift be combined with other cosmetic procedures?

Arm lifts are very localized procedures, so they can be combined with many other surgeries and non-surgical treatments in our Med Spa. You do need to remember that your use of your arms will be somewhat limited, so you will want to take that into account when considering combining surgeries and their required recovery. Dr. Walker can discuss options during your consultation, if you’d like to combine two procedures.

On the Med Spa side of our practice, you could have one of your series of treatments for things such as laser hair removal or a Kybella session to address your double chin. That will save you another trip to the office. Any of our skin rejuvenation procedures for your face, such as CO2 fractional skin resurfacing or a Topix Glycolic Peel, could also be combined with your arm lift.

If you’re interested in possible combinations, we can discuss this at your arm lift consultation.

Schedule a Brachioplasty Consultation

To arrange a brachioplasty consultation at The Plastic Surgery Center of Dallas, contact us today. We will be available to answer questions and discuss the details of the procedure.

Click to learn about Pain Management Options. Click here to learn more about our innovative simulator tool, Vectra 3D, to further assist you and the doctor during your consultation.

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