Brachioplasty, or arm lift, is a procedure to remove the excess of skin from the upper underarm. This procedure helps reshape the arm and lead to a more proportionate, youthful appearance. You might want an arm lift if you have a history of weight loss that has left you with excess skin of the upper underarms or if aging has left you with hanging, lax skin. The patient who seeks this procedure must be ok with a scar on the arm that can extend from elbow to the armpit and sometimes even the chest wall at its greatest extent.
There are various extents of this procedure depending on the body habitus. Liposuction of the arm and brachioplasty are often done in conjunction. For patients with minimal upper arm excess fat without excess of skin, liposuction alone might be effective. For patients with minimal excess skin localized to the armpit, the short scar brachioplasty limited to a scar only in the armpit might be appropriate. For patients with more extensive upper arm skin excess, they will require the traditional brachioplasty. This scar will span from the elbow to the armpit and in some cases even onto the chest wall. Pre-operative markings will be made and discussed with the patient. For your comfort, during a brachioplasty, you will have general anesthesia. The proposed incision, usually on the inner arm, is made and the excess skin is removed taking care to leave enough skin so that the incision is closed off tension. There will be absorbable stitches placed in multiple layers in order to close the incision. You will be able to go home the same day after this procedure with post-operative instructions.
Post-operatively, you will go home the day of the procedure. You will be given oral medications for pain control and will be followed closely at our office. You will be expected to keep your arms elevated above the level of the heart for a few days followed by slow return to usual use of your arms and hands over a few weeks. The resulting scar will take one year to fully heal and mature and take on its final color.
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