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Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

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Natural aging and weight fluctuations can make the skin on your upper arms lose elasticity, which leads to sagging and drooping skin. This leads to skin flaps that hang underneath the upper arms. While exercise can strengthen the underlying muscle, it can’t tighten your skin tissues. An arm lift is a surgical procedure that removes redundant skin from the upper arms to help you achieve toned contours.

What is an arm lift?

An arm lift is a cosmetic procedure that improves the appearance of your upper arms, specifically the region between the elbow and the armpit. During brachioplasty, Dr. Vial removes redundant skin and fat from the upper arm region. The remaining skin is then draped to contour the arm.

dr. vial and patient

Who is a candidate for arm lift?

In general, candidates for arm lifts:

  • Are in good physical and mental health
  • Are at their goal weight with a body mass index below 30
  • Have been weight stable for 6 months
  • Do not have underlying medical conditions that preclude surgery
  • Have normal nutrition labs (prealbumin and iron studies)
  • Are non-smokers or are willing to stop smoking one month before and one month after the procedure
  • Do not use nicotine products or are willing to stop using products one month before and one month after the procedure (gum, chews, patch, vape)
  • Are not exposed to second-hand smoke
  • Have realistic expectations from the surgery
  • Want to improve the signs of aging or of sudden weight loss on the upper arms

What are the types of arm lift?

  • Short scar brachioplasty: the scar is kept within the armpit and a minimal amount of tissue is removed. This is best for individuals with minimal skin laxity on the inner upper arm.
  • Extended brachioplasty: the scar extends from the inner elbow to the armpit and can even extend onto the chest depending on the amount of redundant skin.
  • Liposuction assisted brachioplasty: liposuction can be added to most brachioplasty procedures adding in removal of fat from the back of the upper arm.

How is arm lift performed?

Your arm lift journey starts with a private consultation with Dr. Vial. Dr. Vial carefully examines your upper arms and discusses your goals and expectations. Based on your unique expectations and condition, he creates the ideal surgical plan for you.

Brachioplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure, usually under general anesthesia. The day of surgery, Dr. Vial marks your arms and reverifies the planned scars with you. Once you are under anesthesia, Dr. Vial makes incisions on the inner arms in line with your surgical plan. The length of the incisions depends on the amount of excess skin — larger incisions are necessary to remove larger amounts of skin. In some cases, liposuction may be used to remove unwanted fat. If liposuction is used, Dr Vial will introduce a small cannula through your skin and remove excess fat using a vacuum. The incisions are closed with absorbable suture and your arms are wrapped in ace wraps.

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What is the recovery process after an arm lift?

How you recover in the three months after your surgery determines the outcome for years to come. After the arm lift surgery, your upper arm will be wrapped in bandages to minimize swelling. The bandages will be removed 48 hours after surgery for showering. You will wear compression sleeves for 2 months following surgery. Most patients can resume normal activities and work after 2 weeks, but you should avoid strenuous activities, especially those that involve lifting your arms above shoulder level, for 8 weeks. Dr. Vial will provide a step-by-step list of recovery guidelines.

What are the risks of an arm lift?

Dr. Vial prioritizes safety above all else and performs your arm lift using the safest surgical techniques. He only works with board-certified anesthesiologists and certified nurses to ensure optimal and consistent results. However, all surgeries, including arm lifts, carry inherent risks that Dr. Vial will discuss during your consultation.

The complications unique to Brachioplasty that are reported nationally include, but are not limited to:

  • Poor scaring requiring revision
  • Lower arm swelling (rare)
  • Lower inner arm numbness (rare)

Why choose Dr. Vial for your arm lift?

Dr. Vial is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training and experience in body contouring surgery. He has trained at the world’s best institutions where many of these procedures were invented and continue to be advanced. He makes safety a top priority and has developed a reputation for beautiful, natural results.