Tone & Tighten Your Arms
There are multiple factors that can contribute to sagging tissue and the loss of definition in the upper arms. Genetics can play a role, as can losing a significant amount of weight, as well as the way in which the skin loses some of its elasticity as we grow older.
But the good news is that the plastic surgeons at Renaissance Plastic Surgery have helped many patients who are unhappy with the excess fat and loose, hanging skin on their upper arms. Technically known as Brachioplasty, an arm lift can shape and tone the arm by tightening the skin.
Arm Lift Before & After Photos:
Who is an Ideal Candidate for an Arm Lift Procedure?
The upper arm area ages in different ways in different people. There are a few reasons why some people seem to develop more loose skin in their upper arms than others. If you’ve gained and then lost a good deal of weight, this has likely stretched the arm skin. This area is notorious for not being able to tighten back down after the skin has been stretched. Some people can blame genetics; they are prone to the skin and muscle loosening more than others.
Is this a good procedure for you? That depends on how you feel about your upper arms. If the loose skin and muscle on the underside of your upper arms moves back and forth when you shift your arm, an arm lift could correct that. If you’ve consciously been avoiding showing your upper arms because of the loose skin, then this could be a good surgery for you.
It is important for a candidate to be at or near her ideal weight. This procedure is not intended for weight loss in the arms. In fact, if you gain and lose a fair amount of weight after having an arm lift, you can develop loose skin all over again.
It’s also important to consider that this procedure creates a lengthy incision. The scar lightens quickly and becomes far less visible, but it will still be there.
What Results Can I Expect from My Arm Lift?
An arm lift reshapes the upper arms to a more toned, slimmer profile. The goal of this surgery is to tighten support muscles and remove stretched, hanging skin on the upper arms. This effectively removes the extra skin and with it the effect colloquially known as “bat wings” where the skin flaps back and forth with arm movement.
Arm lifts are very satisfying procedures as they allow our Renaissance Plastic Surgery patients to again wear sleeveless fashions, bathing suits, and all kinds of other clothes without wondering if others are noticing their loose upper arms.
While your results are immediate, there will be some residual swelling that can come and go. Plus, your incision scar will take some time to calm down. In time it will become faint and nearly invisible. Plus, our surgeons place the incision on the underside of the arm that is generally held close to the body. In about 3 months, you should be able to enjoy the full results of your arm lift.
How long does arm lift surgery take?
These surgeries usually take between one and three hours, depending upon the amount of loose skin and possible fat accumulation the patient has.
How Do I Prepare For My Arm Lift Procedure?
This is surgery, so your preparations are the same as for any procedure: you’ll stop taking blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications, and most supplements for one week prior to your procedure. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop for two weeks prior to and after your arm lift. That’s because smoking constricts the blood vessels and can impede your healing.
These aren’t difficult recoveries, so you don’t need to make extensive plans for laying low. But you do need to know that you won’t be able to lift anything more than a bag of sugar for the first week after the surgery. The second week that can only increase to 10 pounds, and then 15 pounds the third week. So, if you need to lift anything heavy, you’re either going to need to have someone else do it for you, or you should take care of it prior to your arm lift.
Is an arm lift a painful recovery?
Arm lifts are not overly painful. The upper arms don’t have highly sensitive nerve fibers. Our surgeons will prescribe pain medication, but you likely will only need it for the first couple days as your incision initially starts healing. Wearing your compression garment as instructed helps limit any movement; this helps to also minimize any pain.
What is the Recovery from Arm Lift Surgery Like?
Recovery from arm lift surgery is not difficult. You’ll return home with bandages and possibly drainage tubes on your incisions. You’ll be given compression garments for both arms to minimize swelling and help your arms adapt to their new contour. There will be swelling, due to the tissue repositioning, but it should be gone in around two weeks.
If you’re a desk jockey, you can likely return to work after about one week. If your job is more physical, you’ll probably need two weeks. You do need to be careful about lifting heavy items (as we detailed in the preparation section) and strenuous activity with your arms.
What can I do on my own to help with my healing and recovery?
Wearing your compression garments and avoiding any heavy lifting are the two most important aspects of your recovery that you need to be diligent about. Your compression garments help to control any swelling, and they help your skin tighten down. But they also help to keep your arms from moving, as movement can impede healing. You do need to be very cautious about lifting. Five pounds is the maximum for the first week, and only 10 the second. If possible, it’s best to not lift anything over 15 pounds for an additional two weeks. After about a month, you should be good to go.
How long will the results from my arm lift last?
The changes made by your Renaissance surgeon are permanent changes. The excess loose skin that is removed is gone for good. Fat pockets removed with liposuction are gone as well. Support muscles are tightened, and they will remain that way. Sure, you will have some sagging as you continue to age, but your arms will never again develop the degree of loose skin that made you seek this surgery in the first place. These are satisfying results that will endure.
Do I have to sleep in a specific way after an arm lift?
For the first week, our surgeons recommend that you sleep on your back in a propped-up position. A recliner is good, or you can arrange pillows so that you can’t roll over. You can place your arms on a pillow on each side. After that, you can sleep on your side or stomach when you feel comfortable.
Will I have a noticeable scar from this procedure?
Short of a tummy tuck, arm lifts have one of the longer incisions in cosmetic surgery. This is simply due to the length of the upper arm. Your Renaissance Plastic Surgery surgeon places the incision as innocuously as possible on the underside of the arm. Still, there will be a scar. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the scar fades, however, especially if you protect it from sun exposure for the first few months.
How can I minimize the appearance of my incision scar after my arm lift?
The most important way to help your incision scars lighten as quickly as possible is to keep all sun exposure off of them. That’s because the sun’s UV radiation will cause hyperpigmentation on the scar tissue. Cover your arms with broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. Better yet, keep the scars covered with clothing.
What you don’t want with your incision is for your body to overproduce collagen. You can use an over-the-counter silicone gel with various skin-healing ingredients and antioxidants. Regular application of topical silicone gel can improve the texture, color, and height of the scar.
And, as discussed above, to allow the incision to heal as well as possible, you need to be very cognizant about not lifting much weight with your arms for about one month.
When can I return to working out after an arm lift?
For the first month, you need to avoid any exercises that directly stress the area and engage your upper arm muscles. This involves all weight lifting with the arms. After one month you can start cardiovascular activity, such as riding a stationary bike or brisk walking. You still need to wait on lifting or sports that engage your arms (such as tennis), however, for another two weeks. At six weeks you should be able to return to your normal exercise routines. Your Renaissance surgeon will discuss timelines for exercise and other normal activities during your follow-up.
Are There Risks to a Brachioplasty?
This is a surgical procedure, so it involves the same risks as with any surgery: excessive bleeding, poor wound healing, potential infection, and the like. Otherwise, this is a low-risk procedure. The upper arms involve large muscles and limited nerve exposure, so tightening the area up is a relatively straightforward procedure. Our Renaissance Plastic Surgery patients are very satisfied with their results from these procedures.
What are the Alternatives to Arm Lift Surgery?
If you have small amounts of fat to remove and you have good skin elasticity, our plastic surgeons at Renaissance may be able to perform your arm lift with liposuction alone, providing a much less invasive surgery, quicker recovery time, and little scarring.
"I had an amazing experience over all !! Surgery and healing went well and I could not be happier with my results. Thank you Dr.Boschert and your team for making me feel comfortable and beautiful!!" - C.W.
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