Brachyplasty, or an arm-lift, is a surgical procedure intended to reduce the size of the upper arms and remove undesired excess skin. After significant weight loss or aging, people often feel self-conscious about the appearance of their upper arms. Patients commonly state that they are dissatisfied with either their large arm size, or excess loose skin on the arms. An arm-lift can correct these conditions by giving the arms a more appealing shape and feel.
Ideal candidates for an arm lift will exhibit one or more of the conditions mentioned above, and may believe their arms are disproportional as a result. For healthy persons, arm-lift surgery can be performed at any age. If major weight loss is still a possibility, patients may want to postpone surgery until their goal weight has been achieved. Smokers should quit at least one month prior to surgery. Last but not least, candidates should have realistic expectations about the arm-lift and surgery in general.
During consultation, Dr. Hess will determine what type of reduction is best suited for you by considering a variety of factors. Sometimes liposuction alone can correct hanging arm tissue. If arm-lift surgery is necessary, there are two types. A partial arm lift is performed by making a small incision in the armpit region, which may extend a short distance onto the inside of the upper arm. A full arm-lift requires a longer axial incision down the medial arm to the elbow. Both types of arm-lift surgery are performed using liposuction. The removal of excess tissue encourages the skin to shrink and to conform to the contour of the new arm.
Patients commonly experience swelling and bruising during the first 2 weeks of recovery from arm-lift surgery. Temporary changes in the sensation of the skin have also been reported. During the first week of recovery, surgical incisions require tape, and a compression garment must be worn. This controls swelling and helps the skin shrink properly. Arm movement is limited during the first couple of weeks. It will normally feel tight and swollen. Incisions are noticeable after surgery but will gradually fade and flatten out over the next year. Swelling may take up to three months to completely subside.
We follow up with patients the following day to ensure their recovery is going smoothly. Patients can usually resume light exercise after 1-2 weeks, and more vigorous movement after 6 weeks.
Arm lift surgery is often part of post-bariatric body contouring surgery, a comprehensive approach intended to resolve the problem of loose body skin that may be present after major weight loss. Other common procedures include the tummy tuck, thigh lift, breast lift and body lift.