Arm Lift (Brachioplasty): A Comprehensive Guide
It may come as a surprise to many, but the arm lift is actually one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in more than a decade. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of arm lifts since 2000 to 2015 jumped by an astonishing 4,854 percent, with 17,099 total arm lifts done in 2015 in the United States alone.
Just what is an arm lift and why is it a favorite among plastic surgery patients? Read on to find out more about this novel procedure.
Medically known as brachioplasty, an arm lift is a surgical procedure that reshapes and contours the upper arm by tightening loose skin and removing excess fat that causes an unsightly ‘bat wing’ appearance under the arms.
During an arm lift, your surgeon creates an incision under the arms, trims away excess, hanging skin, and removes stubborn pockets of fat. Arm liposuction is sometimes used in combination with the arm lift to achieve the best results. He will then pull your skin taut so that it conforms to the new contours of your arm.
An arm lift surgery is a great option for people who recently lost a massive amount of weight due to diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. It is also effective for treating signs of aging on the upper arms. It is also often combined with other procedures like a thigh lift, breast lift, tummy tuck, facelift, and neck lift as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan.
One of the main benefits of a Miami arm lift is the improvement of your appearance. Even though an arm lift can only address a small part of your body, it definitely has a huge impact on your appearance. Simply making your arms look slimmer and tighter can also make your entire figure look a lot more youthful and slender. Firm arms will also make you look physically fit, as opposed to arms with a lot of dangling fat and excess skin.
It also allows you to wear a wider variety of clothes without appearing self-conscious. With a Miami arm lift, you can wear whatever type of clothing that you want without having to worry about how your arms would appear to others. A brachioplasty Miami will also make it easier to move your arms, hence making you feel a lot more comfortable.
An arm lift is also a great way to augment weight loss, as it can quickly make your arms look more reflective of your size. Plus, an arm lift is a great complement to other cosmetic surgeries that tone other areas of your body, such as a tummy tuck and a thigh lift surgery.
Ultimately, every cosmetic procedure is done with the intent to boost one’s confidence and self-esteem. An arm lift is no exception, as the combined benefits of this procedure can make you feel a lot more confident about your appearance than you were before.
To know if you are a good candidate for an arm lift, one of the things that you should look at is your weight. Those who lost a great deal of weight in a short time through bariatric surgery or other means may have drooping, excess skin along the upper arms. These people are excellent candidates for an arm lift. However, it is important to note that an arm lift is not a replacement for weight loss, so you should be in stable weight before undergoing the procedure.
Adults below the age of 65 are also great candidates for an arm lift, as these people still have a good amount of skin elasticity. If you are over 65, you may need to undergo a few extra tests to see if you qualify for surgery. Additionally, you need to be in good health before undergoing the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results of your arm lift.
There is no one-size-fits-all for arm lifts, as each patient has her own arm problems that can be addressed by various types of arm lifts. These types differ with regard to length and complexity.
Upper Arm Lift
Also known as standard brachioplasty, the upper arm lift is the most common type of arm lift used among patients. Your surgeon creates an incision extending along your arm, from your armpit to your elbow. He then removes the excess skin and fat and brings the incisions together to provide a firmer and smoother arm contour.
Mini Arm Lift
Sometimes called the limited arm lift, the mini arm lift is a great option for people who only need a minor revision to the skin on their upper arms. Its procedure is pretty similar to the upper arm lift, but the main difference is that the incision is much smaller. Since the excess hanging skin is often located close to the armpit, your surgeon may be able to pull up and tuck the excess skin into the armpit.
Extended Arm Lift
Those who have severely lax skin will benefit from an extended brachioplasty, as it is often the arm lift technique of choice for those who developed excess loose skin due to massive weight loss. Your surgeon creates an incision between the inner surface and back of the arm, extending from the armpit down along the side of your chest. With this longer incision, your surgeon will be able to remove the maximum amount of skin and tissue on the inner and lower arm.
Short Scar Arm Lift
The short scar arm lift is best for patients with mild upper arm tissue laxity who do not want to get an extended brachioplasty. In this procedure, your surgeon creates a T-shaped scar to combine the diamond or crescent-shaped incision done on the mini arm lift with a short incision on the upper arm. With these two incisions, the excess skin and fatty tissues on the upper arm are removed while the arm skin is lifted towards the armpit.
The L-arm lift is a fairly new arm lift technique that seeks to remove excess tissue on the upper arm, axilla, and lateral chest. This is reserved for patients with severe arm laxity and sagging armpits and upper chest tissue. The incision extends from the armpit down to the elbow on the inner arm. A shorter incision is made from the armpit to the chest at a right angle, creating an L-shape. Through these incisions, the excess skin and fatty tissue of the arm and upper chest are excised.
Before the actual arm lift surgery, your cosmetic surgeon administers anesthesia depending on your health needs, personal preferences, and doctor’s recommendations. Most arm lift cases require general anesthesia, so you will be asleep during the surgery.
While you are sedated, your surgeon marks the areas where the incisions are to be located depending on the type of brachioplasty you will undergo. These markings are usually found on your elbows, arms, and armpits. Once the incisions are made, excess skin and fat are removed. Arm liposuction Miami may also be employed to remove excess fat.
The incisions are then brought together to provide a firmer and smoother arm contour. The skin is also smoothed over the new contour of your arm. The incisions are closed carefully in order to minimize the appearance of brachioplasty scars. Sutures are usually placed beneath the skin, where they are gradually reabsorbed by the body.
The results of an arm lift are immediately visible right after surgery, but you should expect to see optimum results around two to three months after surgery after the swelling has subsided. You can expect your arms to look significantly slimmer and more toned.
However, you should also expect a full arm lift to leave a scar, although your doctor will strive to conceal it as much as possible. The scar usually starts to fade a year after surgery.
As long as your weight does not fluctuate, expect the results of your arm lift to last for many years. You might also lose some skin elasticity as you get older, which can lead to loose skin and arm laxity. However, this will be far less significant than before your surgery.
Before your surgery, your surgeon takes your detailed medical history and performs a physical exam to determine if you are fit for surgery. Your doctor will also ask you to stop smoking at least six weeks before the surgery, as this could impede healing. You should also avoid taking aspirin, some herbal medications, and certain anti-inflammatory drugs that might cause increased bleeding after surgery. If your weight is not at the ideal level, your doctor might recommend some lifestyle changes or weight benchmarks ahead of surgery.
On the day of the surgery, make sure that you wear comfortable and loose clothing. You will also be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight of the day of your surgery.
Make sure that you also prepare for your brachioplasty recovery time by having pillows on hand to elevate your upper arm, as well as stocking your refrigerator with a healthy diet composed of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Schedule time off work and make sure that you have someone who can take care of you until at least a day after your surgery.
Right after surgery, you might be placed in a compression garment or wrap to reduce swelling. There might also be some drains placed on your incision site to prevent fluid accumulation. You will also have a mild to moderate amount of brachioplasty pain and discomfort, which can be easily controlled by oral medications.
You should generally plan to take two to three weeks off from work after surgery. During the first week, avoid any activities that can raise your blood pressure and cause bleeding at your surgical site. Walking is allowed, but any exercise that can put stress on the operative site should be avoided for a full four weeks. Heavy lifting and jogging should be avoided for up to six weeks. By six weeks, you should be able to resume your normal level of activity.
You should also be mindful of your follow-up appointments. See your plastic surgeon one week after your surgery for the removal of sutures and bandages. You should also let your surgeon check your recovery progress four weeks after surgery. Follow his instructions carefully to ensure faster healing, reduced scarring, and overall excellent aesthetic results.
A brachioplasty Miami is generally a safe procedure if performed by a competent surgeon. According to a 2006 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, the overall complication rate of the 40 subjects who underwent an arm lift was at 25 percent over the course of 16 years. Ninety-five percent of the complications were not serious.
The most common risks include seroma (fluid accumulation), cellulitis, reopening of wounds, and raised or hypertrophic scarring. Only two patients suffered from nerve damage, and 12.5 percent of patients required an arm lift revision. The researchers concluded that an arm lift is a safe procedure with few risks.
However, the figures are higher when an arm lift is combined with other surgeries. According to a study published in 2011, patients who had previous bariatric surgery or concurrent body contouring procedures were more likely to suffer from complications. The researchers suggested that multiple body contouring procedures be performed in stages to prevent complications.
You should expect a few short-term side effects with an arm lift. These include discomfort, bruising, swelling, bleeding, tightness, tingling sensation, and numbness in the surgical area. Your discomfort can be treated by non-prescription pain medication, as well as the proper use of compression bandages. A healthy diet can also stimulate healing and keep inflammation at bay.
Though an arm lift is a low-risk procedure, some complications may still occur. These include allergic reactions to anesthesia, infection, scarring, significant bleeding, swelling of the hands, fluid accumulation, hematoma, permanent loss of sensation, and asymmetry.
The arm lift cost in Miami can be anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000. Additional fees, such as surgical facility, anesthesiologist, and medication, are still not included in these fees. The final cost depends on the type of arm lift, the surgical facility, and your doctor’s experience and reputation. If you require additional treatments at the same time as your arm lift, they will be priced separately.
Since an arm lift is a cosmetic procedure and often not classified as ‘medically necessary,’ most insurance plans do not cover the cost of treatment. However, there are several financing options that can help you cover the cost of your brachioplasty Miami, including office financing and third-party financing.
If going under the knife scares the hell out of you, you may opt for a variety of non-surgical arm lift alternatives. One of the best alternatives for a surgical arm lift is laser skin tightening, which is perfect for those with mild to moderate skin laxity. In this procedure, the upper arms are treated with a high-power surgical laser that stimulates collagen production in the skin. Collagen is a protein that is responsible for skin elasticity and healing.
Another popular treatment is mesotherapy, which makes use of an injectable solution that contains amino acids, medication, and natural ingredients. The injections are targeted towards the middle layer of the upper arm’s skin, where the solution melts fat and tightens skin.
Branded treatments are also available, such as Thermage, VelaShape, VASER Liposelection, and Zerona. Thermage uses radiofrequency waves to melt fat and tighten collagen fibers, hence resulting in a firmer and more youthful-looking skin on the arms. VelaShape makes use of a combination of radiofrequency treatments, infrared light, massage, and suctioning in order to smooth cellulite and tone the upper arms. VASER Liposelection involves the use of ultrasonic energy to dissolve fat tissues, hence aiding their elimination from the body. Zerona liquefies fat cells through cold lasers and allows the body to naturally expel them through the lymphatic system.
For a more comprehensive look on these non-surgical arm lift alternatives, check out the Arm Lift Alternatives That Don’t Require You to Go Under the Knife.
Choosing a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon is of tremendous importance if you want your arm lift Miami to improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence. Consider talking to one of our board-certified Miami plastic surgeons here on Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery and Schedule a Free Consultation with them to learn more about how the arm lift surgery can help you.