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What is brachioplasty?

Contour and Shape Your Arms

Brachioplasty, also known as upper arm lift, is a surgical procedure that improves the contour and shape of the arms through the removal of excess skin and fat in the upper arm. This is suitable for people who have undergone dramatic weight loss and for those who simply want to reshape their arms to look more attractive.

What can brachioplasty do?

An arm lift procedure can do the following:

  • Reduce the sagging skin that droop downward from the arm
  • Reduce the pockets of fat found in the upper arms
  • Tighten the supportive tissue on the upper arm, giving it a more defined look

Am I a good candidate for brachioplasty?

The drooping and saggy appearance of the arm is usually caused by weight fluctuations, aging, and heredity. You are a good candidate for an arm lift if this condition does not respond to diet and exercise.

Moreover, brachioplasty candidates include:

  • Individuals in good health condition and without diseases that affect the healing process and increase the risk for complications after surgery
  • Adults with stable weight and who are not overweight
  • Individuals who do not smoke and have a positive outlook about the procedure

A brachioplasty may also be suitable for you if your upper arms, particularly the underside, appear saggy and loose due to excess fat and skin. You may discuss your options with Dr. Randall Barnett at the Alpine Plastic Surgery Clinic. He can help determine the procedure that is most suitable for you.

How will my brachioplasty consultation go?

Your initial consultation will involve discussion of the following:

  • Your realistic goals about the surgery
  • Your current medical conditions, treatments, and allergies
  • Medications, vitamins, and other supplements you are currently taking
  • Previous surgeries

During the consultation, your surgeon may also:

  • Asses your general health status and evaluate any health conditions that may increase your risks during the procedure
  • Take before and after photographs of the area that will be treated
  • Lay down your options and other alternatives
  • Discuss with you the possible outcomes of brachioplasty as well as the potential risks and complications

How will I prepare myself for brachioplasty?

Before undergoing the procedure, your surgeon may ask you to:

  • Undergo lab tests or a medical examination
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Take certain medications or make adjustments on medications you are currently taking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs, all of which can increase bleeding during the procedure

How does a brachioplasty procedure go?

During surgery, your doctor makes an incision under your inner arm area – from your elbow to your armpit – since these areas are less likely to be noticed, making scars less visible. After the incisions are made, the surgeon then removes excess skin or fat in the area. To enhance and improve the contour of the area, liposuction may be performed. A brachioplasty usually takes two to four hours to complete.

What can I expect after brachioplasty?

Once the operation is done, you can expect the following:

  • Bruising and swelling around the treated area
  • Possible numbness and pain
  • A drainage tube is attached to the wound to prevent fluid accumulation
  • Bandages and dressings on the upper arms
  • Compression garments wrapped around the treated area

How long does it take to recover from brachioplasty?

Usually, initial recovery takes about 10 to 14 days. Complete recovery should take about 4 to 6 weeks. However, the incisions only fully heal after about one year.

What are the risks associated with brachioplasty?

As with any other surgery, there are certain risks associated with a brachioplasty procedure. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia-related risks
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Unwanted scarring
  • Fatty tissue death
  • Persistent pain
  • Numbness or changes in sensation
  • Nerve, blood vessel, or muscle damage
  • Sutures may not be absorbed by the skin, which may lead to irritation and redness
  • The need to undergo revisional surgery

How will I take care of myself at home?

Your surgeon will give you self-care instructions that you can do at home, which may include:

  • Avoid strenuous exercises or activities such as heavy lifting for a month.
  • Wear compression stockings for several weeks.
  • Have adequate rest.
  • Follow instructions given about wound care religiously.
  • Report any unusual signs, such as severe pain and bleeding, to the doctor immediately.

How long will the results last?

The results of brachioplasty vary from person to person and depend on the age of the patient when the procedure was done. It may be long-lasting. The results may also be enhanced if the patient follows a proper diet and performs strength exercises after surgery.

What are the alternatives to brachioplasty?

If you are unsure of undergoing the procedure, there are other non-surgical alternatives you can try, which includes:

  • Exercise
  • Maintaining a low-fat diet
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts
  • Self-acceptance, which may be facilitated by a psychologist or a counsellor