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The Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

If you’ve got saggy upper arms that prevent you from wearing
sleeveless shirts or sexy strapless dresses, you may want to
consider the plastic surgery procedure known as the arm lift, or
brachioplasty. One of the most popular procedures done today
- which uses safer techniques and promises fewer scars - it
can eliminate the flab arms and make you look fabulous.


What Surgery Is Right for Your Body Type?


Is the Arm Lift Right For You?

People who lose excessive amounts of weight are ideal
candidates for the arm lift, because they may have greater
amounts of underarm fat to remove. The American Society of
Plastic Surgeons has ranked the arm lift as one of the four most
commonly performed procedures done for patients who have lost considerable amounts of weight. 

Of course, thin people have sagging upper arms, too, usually resulting from genetic factors and aging.  And droopy underarm skin can be seen in people who are dedicated to regular exercise.

Getting Ready For Your Arm Lift Surgery

In the weeks prior to your surgery, you will receive information covering what you need to do to get ready, such as stopping smoking, which interferes with the healing process of wounds. You also may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, some vitamins, homeopathic treatments, and others drugs that can cause excessive bleeding.

The Procedure for Arm Lift Surgery

Your surgeon may choose to give you general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation, which will not leave you unconscious.
To perform the arm lift on patients who have minimal amounts of fat to remove, liposuction may be sufficient. The more comprehensive, invasive total arm lift is best-suited for those who have larger areas of underarm flab, as well as skin that has significant sun damage and is not in good condition.

The type of incision used depends on the amount of fat to be removed. For people with less underarm fat, a small incision will be made in the armpit, for the procedure known as a minimal incision arm lift.

Liposuction is used to remove the fat after the incision is made.

Arm Lift Surgery Recovery Period

You will experience some bruising and swelling after the procedure, but you will also notice the tight new tone of your underarm area almost immediately. If you have discomfort or pain, your surgeon can prescribe a pain medication.

Swelling will worsen within the first few days following your arm lift, and then stop completely in another couple of weeks. To reduce swelling in the aftermath of the surgery, it is recommended that you elevate your arm with pillows.

You will need to wait for a week after the procedure to take a shower. And within about three weeks, you should be recovered sufficiently to return to work. It is also advisable to wait for a month to do any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. The recovery period varies from patient to patient.

Once they are fully recovered from arm lift surgery, a number of patients will choose to have follow-up cosmetic procedures to enhance the appearance of their arms. One of these procedures is for removing unwanted hair.

Risks Associated With An Arm Lift Procedure

All medical procedures come with some degree of risk, and the recovery period can take longer if you experience complications. Among the risks of this procedure are:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Scarring
  • Risks linked to anesthesia
  • Loss of sensation
  • Swelling of the hands
  • Seromas (fluid that collects along the incision)

Choosing a Qualified Plastic Surgeon for Arm Lift Surgery

The more qualified your surgeon, the more likely you will be to be pleased with the outcome of your arm lift surgery.  

It’s essential that you choose a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Board certification is given to surgeons who are experienced in modern techniques and technology, and who have excellent educational and training credentials.

It may help you to look at photos of some of your surgeon’s former arm lift patients, in order to give yourself a realistic understanding of the possibilities.

People who were obese and have lost an excessive amount of weight may be especially interested in getting rid of their excess underarm flab. If they have had gastric restrictive surgery, their bariatric surgeon may know highly qualified plastic surgeons who would be well-suited to doing your arm lift surgery. 

The Cost of Arm Lift Surgery

When considering the cost arm lift surgery, understand that the final figure represents the surgeon’s fee, together with the charges for the anesthesia and the operating room. Statistics gathered in 2008 by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that on average, plastic surgeons charged $3,953 for an arm lift procedure. If you would like to have an arm lift but can’t afford the lump sum payment, talk to your surgeon – some surgeons are willing to arrange monthly payment plans.



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