What is an arm lift and why is it done?

An arm lift, also called brachioplasty, is a type of cosmetic procedure that aims to remove excess skin and fat from the elbow and armpit to lift the under portion of upper arms.

The upper arms changing to become loose, drooping and sagging is done due to factors such as aging and weight loss. Exercise can improve and strengthen muscle tone in the upper arm. But, it cannot improve the excess skin since it has lost elasticity. In this case, arm lift comes to help to boost your body image.

arm lift

Iran – Theran , Lavasani ST , In front of shahid aghaei ST , Nami Building, NO 118 , Unit 7


How to prepare for an arm lift?

Initially, you need to talk to a plastic surgeon about brachioplasty. The surgeon will likely:

  • Review your medical history
  • He/she will talk about the medication you take or have recently taken or the surgeries you ever had. 
  • Do a physical exam
  • Examine your upper arms underside to know the treatment options.
  • Take some photos.
  • Discuss your expectation

The surgeon will ask you about what you hope to achieve from an arm lift to make sure that you have logical expectations .So you need to understand the risks as well as the benefits.

  • Ask you to stop tobacco

If you smoke the surgeon will ask you to stop it since smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and slows the healing process after an arm lift. Smoking decreases the risk of complications, so some surgeons do not perform the surgery if the patient still smokes. 

An arm lift procedure

Generally this procedure is done under general anesthesia. First, the surgeon makes incisions on the undersides of the arms the pattern of which depends on the amount of the skin that is going to be removed. 

Then he/she tightens the underlying tissues and secures them with stitches. The liposuction technique may also be used to remove fat in the arm lift. 

Then the surgeon drapes the skin over the new contours and removes excess skin. Next, he/she uses stitches or surgical tape to close the incisions. 

Different types of arm lift

Depending on the amount of fat, two kinds of arm lifts are done.

  • Mini arm lift

In a mini arm lift which is also called a partial or minimal incision arm lift, the surgeon makes a small incision in the armpit and gradually removes the excess skin over the arm through liposuction to incise the arm to a desirable shape. He/she may also exert excess skin. Then the surgeon carefully wraps the skin and leaves it to heal. 

This technique of arm lift is ideal for those who have lost a moderate amount of weight or those that have substantial muscle tissue because of aging.

  • Upper arm lift 

This method is also known as Brachioplasty. In this method, the surgeon makes an incision from the elbow to the arm and sucks out excess fat through it. Then he/she trims and secures the excess skin in place and leaves it for healing. An upper arm lift is ideal for those that have a drastic reduction in weight.

An arm lift recovery

After an arm lift, your surgeon will cover the incisions in bandages and wrap your arms loosely in elastic bandages to make the swelling minimal. He/she might place small tubes in your arms. The tubes will drain any excess blood or fluid. They will be removed within a day or two days after the surgery. 
After an arm lift you should:

  • For about 1 month elude lifting your arms above the shoulder.
  • Avoid doing exercises or physical activities for one month since those activities may stretch the incisions.
  • To prevent wound infections take pain medications topical or oral antibiotics as your surgeon has prescribed.
  • Some of the stitches left by the arm lift will be dissolved on their own and some are removed by the surgeon a week after the surgery. 
  • Do not hesitate to call your surgeon if you experience:
  • Chest pains
  • Breast shortness
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Skin redness and fever
An arm lift recovery

Arm lift risks

Arm lift has some risks such as: 

Asymmetry due to arm lift can occur because of changes during the process of recovery. Though the surgeons try to do the surgery in a way that the arms look symmetrical, perfect symmetry is sometimes impossible.

Though the scar of the incision from an arm lift is not visible, they are permanent. Patients inject corticosteroid medication or other medication to improve the scar appearance. 

Stitches that are used to secure the new shape of the arm may come to the surface and need to be removed. This issue can lead to inflammation of affected skin. Thus, the patient may need to get additional surgery. 

The repositioning of the arm tissues during an arm lift may affect superficial sensory nerves and the patient feel temporary numbness.

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia risks 
  • Collapsed lung
  • Tissue death around the wound
  • Skin loss around the wound
  • Sensory nerve damage
  • Prolonged swelling
  • Damage to underlying tissues such as muscles
  • Further surgery to treat complications
  • Unsightly, itchy or inflamed scarring
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
Arm lift risks

Postoperative diet for an arm lift

You must strictly follow a balanced diet after Brachioplasty that has low fat and carbohydrates. But it should have high fibers and raw greens and fruits. 

Bread. Cereal and diet containing fibers should be included after this surgery since limited movement may promote constipation.

  • You should avoid taking aspirin since it gastric ulcers and take medication prescribed by your surgeon. 
  • You should avoid drinking alcohol at least for three weeks as it can interact with medications and cause complications such as fluid retention. 
  • You should not resume smoking until the scars completely healed. Nicotine delays recovery and can promote complication risks. 

What are alternatives to an arm lift?

They are some nonsurgical options that can be instead of a Brachioplasty including:

  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy low-fat diet
  • Wear long-sleeved tops
  • Accept yourself as you are. It helps you to overcome your concerns about your appearance.

Who is a good candidate for an arm lift?

An arm lift is not for people who:

  • Smoke
  • Have frequent changes in their weight
  • Have a medical condition that hinders wound healing
  • Are significantly overweight
  • Are allergic to anesthesia
  • With tight skin of the upper arm
  • Can reduce arm size through exercise
  • Are 30 pounds above the ideal weight according to BMI
  • With serious medical conditions such as anemia which hampers the healing process

Ideal candidates are:

  • Healthy individuals that do not have medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.
  • Adults that have excess loose skin folds over the arm.
  • Adults that have relative stability in weight and are not obese.
  • People who want and are ready to keep the skin tone and amount of fat after the arm lift by a continuous exercise regimen.

Iran – Theran , Lavasani ST , In front of shahid aghaei ST , Nami Building, NO 118 , Unit 7


Before you get brachioplasty

Before you decide on undergoing an arm lift keep in mind that:
The scar on the inside of the upper arm will run from armpit to the elbow. Though time may help it to significantly fade, it is not unusual to stay visible forever. If you smoke you are at increased risk of complications from an arm lift or any other surgery. So you have to quit it. 

What are realistic expectations from brachioplasty?

An arm lift makes the arms look more proportional with your other parts of the body and increases your self-confidence. But you should expect the following points if you want to go for it:

  • A long scar will be formed between your armpit and elbow. The surgeon can reduce it with incision taping devices. Your quality of taking care of the areas will affect its visibility, but it may be visible at least 2 months after the surgery. 
  • If your surgeon cannot correctly identify the area that needs an arm lift, under the arm may start to sag again. So, you may need another brachioplasty in the future. 
  • The nature of your skin and the way the surgeon does your procedure are two factors that may cause the scars to have irregular looks. 
Before you get brachioplasty

 Arm lift pros and cons

  • An arm lift is better than liposuction for those that have got saggy and droopy arm as it tightens the skin.
  • The results of brachioplasty are fast and substantial.
  • An arm lift removes excess skin from the arms and makes the arms look desired.
  • Removal of fat and skin around the arms make them feel lighter and firmer.
  • This cosmetic procedure can treat the accumulation of fat that is the result of heredity problem, unsuccessful diet and lack of exercise. 
  • An arm lift gives a toned appearance to your body which can improve your self-confidence. 
  • The scars that the arm lift leaves can be visible along the insides of your arms. They extend from the armpit to the elbow. However, technological advancement can help to reduce the scars.
  • One of the side effects of brachioplasty is swelling. you can minimize it by using supportive wraps.
  • There is a risk of blood clot development. so if you do not walk frequently, post-operative care becomes very important. 
  • An arm lift can be posed with various risks including bruising, scaring, etc. that you can avoid by following instructions. 
What is the alternative to brachioplasty?

What is the alternative to brachioplasty?

They are a few alternatives to an arm lift including:

In this method, the production of collagen is stimulated and excess fat cells are exposed to heat and melted away.

This method works by heating the underlying fat cells. They melt and naturally get eliminated by the body. Laser treatment does not have considerable long-lasting effects. The results of an arm lift are more noticeable. 

In this treatment, a handheld device is rolled over the skin of arms. It sucks at the skin and so the fat laying within skin layers breakdown. This method reduces cellulite in sagging skin areas. 

Liposuction, This treatment of the excess fat from the arm is removed. But, this method is not suitable for all individuals. The effect of this surgery depends on how big and deep the incision is. It generally works for moderately loose skin.

Who is a qualified surgeon for an arm lift

When it comes to choosing surgeons for cosmetic surgery, make sure that your surgeon is board certified. Some centers such as the Plastic Surgery Association, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic surgery and the International Confederation for Plastic have rigorous and self-training methods. If the surgeon has got the certified from these boards he/she is not just a qualified surgeon but one of the best surgeons in the world. 

Also, check the surgeon’s previous experience in performing brachioplasty and the way he/she managed them. 

Moreover, check for hospital’s care on a qualitative basis including the equipment’s hygiene, decent infrastructure, how updated the technological devices, etc.

Who is a qualified surgeon for an arm lift

Dr. Salahi performs hundreds of abdominal and thoracic surgeries, abdominal lipatomics, lipomatic abdominal surgery, thighs and arms, breast prosthesis and minimally invasive surgeries and is one of the top-ranked doctors in Tehran in cosmetic surgery. They specialize in cosmetic surgery.

Arm lift costs

This surgery is popular around the world to reduce saggy skin and heavy arm fat. Its cost varies depending on the geographical area.

However, the cheapest country for getting brachioplasty is Spain, where it costs a mere 700 dollars!

Other than geographical factors, the surgeon qualification and experience can affect the arm lift cost. Also, the surgeon’s operating price is affected by the economy of the country in which the surgery is done.

In general, the cost of an upper arm lift is more than a mini arm lift. 

Additional costs for an arm lift include:

  • Operation room
  • Postoperative supplies
  • Nursing 
  • Laboratory tests

An arm lift frequently asked questions

The arm lift pain is mild. It decreases two days after the surgery. till then, you should not move your arm or exert it in any manner to avoid decreasing pain. If you experience excessive pain massage the affected area and apply ice. 

This surgery leaves scars in the surgical area. But, the surgeons aim to make incisions on the inner side of the arm to conceal the scars. Thus it is highly recommended that get an arm lift only when the benefits are more significant than the scars.

You will need to stay at home for 2-3 weeks after the surgery. Then the recovery time is completed and you can get back to work. It does not mean that you can work at home! Almost for every activity, you need to use your arms and move your hands. This may result in infection in the scars and lead to more complications. So, do not do the special activity until you make sure that you are allowed.

It depends! If you follow the stable exercising schedule along with proper post-surgery care, it can last for many years. But, reduction in elasticity and other aging factors are unavoidable. Weight gain and weight loss after the surgery will result in saggy and droopy arm skin again. Thus, you should keep your weight stable.

You can restart exercising or doing strenuous activities such as weight training or bending only one month after an arm lift. But, if you think that your recovery has not been completed yet, you must wait. It is not the same for all patients. 

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that removes fat from different parts of the body such as the abdomen, legs, and arms. It does not remove the loose skin. But, an arm lift removes both fat and excess skin from the arms. 

An arm lift or brachioplasty is a type of cosmetic surgery to remove the fat and saggy skin from your arms between the armpit and elbow. It is done in two ways: mini arm lift and upper arm lift. 

An arm lift is a type of surgery, so it cannot be excluded from risks and complications. Some complications of an arm lift may include hematoma, bleeding, and infection. 

For getting an arm lift you need to consult with a board-certified, experienced and committed surgeon to make sure that you can be a candidate. He/she will do some examination to get the general knowledge on your body health.

The results of an arm lift may last for a long time but due to some factors, it cannot be permanent.

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