Arm Lift

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An arm lift is a procedure that removes excess skin and fat of the upper arm. This may also incorporate liposuction of the arm as part of the procedure.

Some patients develop severely loose skin of the upper arms due to significant weight loss or aging. This loose skin is sometimes referred to as “bat wings” and can result in feeling insecure and potentially causing discomfort for those living with it. Removing the excess skin along the inner aspect of the arm, from just above the elbow extending into the axilla (“armpit”), via an arm lift can treat this problem. This surgical procedure usually takes between two and three hours with a recuperation time of one to two weeks.  For more information about Brachioplasty, visit our blog.

Before and After Photos

Candidates

A good candidate for an arm lift is a patient that desires arm contour improvement due to loose hanging skin and/or excess fatty tissue in the arms.

“I always wanted to be a physician because I wanted to help people. Plastic surgery gives me the ability to help people in very positive ways.”

Steven Wallach, MD

Cost

An arm lift usually runs between $10-15K.

Consultation

During the consultation, you will spend a lot of time with the doctor reviewing your surgical goals. An exam will then be performed and a surgical plan will be discussed with you at length.

Risks

Arm lift surgery is very safe. Some general risks include unfavorable contour results, unfavorable scarring, wound healing issues, seroma, hematoma, and dysesthesias.

Procedure

An arm lift procedure is usually performed under deep sedation or general anesthesia. Incisions are used along the inner arm or posterior arm and the excess skin and fat is removed directly or combined with liposuction. The incisions are closed with stitches. Drains may be placed and the arms are either wrapped in a dressing or a compression garment is applied.

Mini-Brachioplasty

This  is a procedure limited to an excision just in the axilla (armpit). 

  • Indications– Performed to eliminate a minor amount of excess fat and skin. This is best in the individual with some laxity in the proximal upper arm closest to the axilla (armpit). This can usually be combined safely with liposuction of the remaining arm as well. 
  • Disadvantages– It will not treat laxity further down the arm.

Full Brachioplasty

This is a procedure that is performed for excision of excess skin and fat from the elbow to the upper arm, often due to significant weight loss. The incision can be placed along the inner arm surface (medially) or along the back (posterior) of the arm. Usually, liposuction is not performed at the same time because of delayed healing risks. 

  • Indications– For laxity of skin and treatment of excess fat of the upper arm from elbow to axilla (armpit). 
  • Disadvantages– It does not treat laxity along the lateral chest, but limits the incision to only the inner arm in most cases.

Extended Full Brachioplasty

This is a procedure that is performed for excision of excess skin and fat of the arm and lateral chest extending from the elbow to the axilla (armpit), and then across the lateral side of the chest to remove redundant tissue. Liposuction of this area is usually not performed at the same time because of delayed healing risks. This is more common for patients with massive weight loss. 

  • Indications– For laxity of skin and treatment of fat from the elbow up through the armpit and extending onto the lateral chest. 
  • Disadvantages– Longer incision from elbow through armpit extending onto lateral chest but gives improved contour of armpit and lateral chest as well.

Results

You should expect that your arms will have a better appearance once a lot of the excess skin is removed.

Recovery

Recovery time will differ depending on the extent of your arm lift. However, patients should expect to take 1-2 weeks off work to recover. Patients should be up and walking the day after surgery, which is a great way to prevent blood clots in the legs. Patients should sleep with their arms elevated on pillows for the first two weeks to reduce swelling. For the first six weeks scars will be firm and pink, and lighten in color after 9-12 months.

If you would like more information about New York City Plastic Surgeon Dr. Wallach and his success with New York City Brachioplasty procedures, we hope that you will not hesitate to contact our Manhattan offices at (212) 861-6400 or by mail at 1049 5th Avenue, Suite 2D in New York, NY 10028; or using our contact form to request additional details.

FAQ

CAN UNDERARM FAT BE REMOVED?

Underarm fat can be removed by liposuction or by direct excision

DOES AN ARM LIFT LEAVE A SCAR?

An arm lift will leave a scar. It is often placed along the inner aspect closest to the chest or along the posterior aspect.

DO ARM LIFT SCARS FADE?

Often the scar will fade with time.

DOES ARM LIPO HURT?

Arm lipo usually does not hurt significantly. You may be a bit sore in the area for a few days.

DO COMPRESSION GARMENTS HELP WITH LOOSE SKIN?

I use compression garments for comfort. It may help redistribute the loose skin but I do not think it will tighten it up to any significant degree.

DOES INSURANCE PAY FOR AN ARM LIFT?

Insurance does not pay for an arm lift.

DO WAIST TRAINERS TIGHTEN LOOSE SKIN?

I do not think waist trainers offer much improvement.

HOW DO YOU LOSE ARM FAT FAST?

The fastest way to loose arm fat is by liposuction. Diet and exercise may help as well.

HOW MUCH DOES A BRACHIOPLASTY SURGERY COST?

In general a brachioplasty will range in cost between $8000-$15000.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR BRACHIOPLASTY SCARS TO HEAL?

It can take a year or longer for the scar to mature.

HOW LONG AFTER BRACHIOPLASTY CAN I EXERCISE?

I usually have patients wait at least 3 weeks before resuming aerobic activities and 6 weeks for heavy lifting.

HOW PAINFUL IS AN ARM LIFT?

Arm lifts in general are not that painful. Mostly the discomfort is from swelling and incisional discomfort.

WHAT IS ARM LIFT SURGERY?

Arm lift surgery varies from liposuction to direct excision of skin and fat of the upper arm, lower arm and even the axilla.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER FROM AN ARM LIFT?

Most patients can go back to light duty within 7-10 days. I usually have patients wait at least 3 weeks before resuming aerobic activities and 6 weeks for heavy lifting.