Many men and women experience sagging upper arms due to either weight fluctuations, the natural aging process, or genetics. Dr. Hamlet has helped many of his patients to achieve the arm contour that they desire.
To learn more about this arm lift procedure or to find out if you are a good candidate, contact our office today and schedule a consultation.
What is an Arm Lift?
An Arm Lift—also known as brachioplasty—is a procedure that lifts and tightens upper arm skin to trim this area and create a more contoured appearance. A common experience as we age is when we wave to someone and feel the skin that runs between the elbow and the armpit flapping in the breeze. The most frustrating part is that you can spend hours at the gym attempting to tone this area to no avail, as skin that has lost its elasticity is especially resistant to a fitness fix. It is a common issue, too, resulting from either heredity, weight fluctuations, the loss of elasticity that comes with aging, or significant weight loss.
The arm lift seeks to reduce this sagging skin, tightens the upper arm’s tissue, and reduces localized fat pockets in this region. Excess skin and fat are removed before the skin is redraped over the newly contoured region.
The result is a more defined look that could very well boost your self-esteem.
There are many benefits to getting an arm lift if you commit to a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. This is particularly true if your arms have been making you self-conscious for some time now, as your quality of life and self-esteem will get a major boost. Other benefits include:
- Contoured arms that are in better proportion to your fit body, as “bat wings” can make an otherwise slim person appear overweight
- Minimal scarring that fades over time
- Clothing fits better
- Increase in activity and self-confidence, including being able to wear sleeveless shirts
- Eradication of fat pockets makes arms feel lighter
- Immediately noticeable and long-lasting results
Good Candidates for Arm Lifts
As with all cosmetic surgeries, the best candidates for arm lifts are nonsmokers who are in good health, as this will aid in healing. Ideally, they should also be committed to a healthy future that includes regular exercise and a sensible diet. They should be at or near their goal weight and have attempted to tone their arms through regular exercise.
Those who exercise on a regular basis but still struggle with this can be confident in knowing that this is the type of sagging skin that is exercise-resistant.
People who struggle with weight fluctuations and skin elasticity are generally not considered to be good candidates.
A huge benefit of the traditional arm lift is that scarring is minimal, not visible from the front, and will diminish over time.
In this procedure, an incision is made from the below to the top of the armpit on the back side of the patient’s arm. Excess fat, tissue, and skin are removed, at which point the skin is redraped and tightened over the area. This allows for the more taut appearance patients are aiming to achieve.
Patients who do not want the scar to be seen from behind can request that the incision is made on the inner arm. However, this could mean that some scarring will be seen from the front. Again, it is minimal from any angle and reduces in time. Although this is the most common arm lift performed, Dr. Hamlet makes sure to customize the procedure to each patient.
A mini arm lift is ideal for patients with a minimal amount of skin sagging and for those who are concerned about scarring. A smaller incision than the one made during traditional brachioplasty is made along the base of the arm near the armpit. Just as with the traditional procedure, fat and excess skin are removed before the incision is closed and sutured. Designed for minimal skin removal and tightening, it’s not recommended for patients with significant sagging in that region.
Because the incision resembles the letter “L,” it is sometimes to referred to as L-shaped brachioplasty.
The most wide-ranging of the arm lift procedures, this type of brachioplasty extends the incision, ending it just below the armpit. This allows for fat and excess skin removal from not just the underarm but also from the sides of the chest. It offers the most tightening of all three brachioplasty options but is typically reserved for patients who have experienced extreme weight fluctuations.
Preparation and Procedure
Before your arm lift surgery, Dr. Hamlet may ask you to do the following:
- Stop smoking
- Get a medical evaluation and lab testing
- Cease taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory meds, herbal supplements, or other medications that have the potential to increase bleeding
On the day of the procedure, you should bring a shirt that you can put on without lifting your arms. You will also need to arrange someone to drive you to and from the surgery facility.
The anesthesiologist will administer a general anesthetic for the procedure, although in certain cases a local anesthetic and sedation can be used. Dr. Hamlet will make the incisions for the type of arm lift agreed upon during the consultation, removing excess fat and loose skin.
Liposuction will also be performed at this time if this is something that you and Dr. Hamlet decided will achieve optimal results.
The skin is draped over the area to give it the desired taut and toned look, and the incisions are sutured. You can anticipate that the procedure will take about two hours, after which you’ll be sent to a recovery room to be attended to by staff before heading home with your designated driver.
Arm Lift vs. Arm Liposuction
When weighing an arm lift against arm liposuction, it’s important to note that one procedure isn’t better than the other. In fact, they are sometimes used in combination. It’s more about what kind of aesthetic issues you are having with your arms.
If you have a moderate amount of localized fat deposits that are exercise-resistant, liposuction is likely the better option for you. However, if you’re having issues with skin elasticity, the arm lift is the way to go. If you struggle with both, you and Dr. Hamlet can discuss whether to use them in combination with one another during your consultation. This is the best choice for patients who present with concerns in both skin elasticity and an overabundance of fat pockets.
Recovery from any procedure like this is a very subjective experience, depending on how in-depth the surgery will get and the health of the patient. Because of this, you should be sure to ask your surgeon a lot of questions during your consultation. Request information on post-op procedures, dressings/bandages, stitches, medications, follow-up care, and when you can resume normal activities.
In general, patients will receive dressings over the incisions and compression bandages to reduce swelling and improve blood flow. A thin tube may also be placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood. Don’t worry, as you’ll be given specific instructions on how to care for these drains and the surgical site, along with any medications to help with pain and healing. It is advised to have someone stay with you for at least one night after the procedure to help with these dressings and drains.
Use of pain medications can generally be discontinued after about a week, at which point Tylenol can be used for any lingering pain. Patients are asked to return to the Hamlet Clinic for a post-op evaluation. At this point, you’ll likely be told you can return to normal activities within one to two weeks but should avoid heavy lifting for about a month.
Your consultation will be a wonderful way for you and Dr. Hamlet to get on the same page. During this time, you should be prepared to tell him about the following:
- Any medical conditions or treatments or drug allergies
- Current medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Previous surgeries
- Your goals for the arm lift surgery
Once he has evaluated your health, risk factors, and pre-existing conditions, he will discuss your arm lift options and the likely outcome of the procedure, including any associated risks and complications. He will also show you before and after photos of others who have had this procedure and will take photographs of your arms. If Dr. Hamlet has ascertained that an arm lift is not the ideal procedure for you, he will likely suggest alternatives.
Many patients feel a bit of anxiety when attending consultations for surgical procedures, which is why it’s important that you write down your questions as a sort of checklist. If you decide during your consultation to proceed with the procedure, you will receive instructions on how to prepare, what to expect from the procedure itself, and how to ensure your recovery goes off without a hitch.
Arm Lift Pricing
Because the arm lift is such a customizable procedure, it requires consultation with Dr. Hamlet to receive a quote. During the consultation, the doctor will build a treatment plan based on your needs, as well as provide a personalized arm lift quote. Contact our London based office today and schedule a consultation.