Excess skin be gone
While losing a dramatic amount of weight can leave you feeling amazing and can correct some major medical problems, it may also leave you with laxity in the arms that creates an undesirable appearance. Hanging skin and fat in this area has been called “batwings” at times. Excess skin along your arms may prevent you from feeling comfortable and confident with your body. However, arm lift surgery can fix these concerns by restoring a slimmer, more toned shape to your arms while revitalizing the look of your upper body.
Arm Lift Candidates
If you are considering arm lift surgery, you should be in good health and have realistic expectations about your results. If you have recently undergone significant weight loss, you should reach and maintain your weight loss goal before considering surgery. Men and women choose arm lift surgery for one or more of the following reasons:
- Unattractive folds of excess skin
- “Batwing” arm appearance
- Discomfort caused by arm chafing
- Excess fat accumulation around the arms
Arm Lift Procedure
Arm lift surgery is an outpatient procedure typically performed using either sedation or a light general anesthetic. We create an incision along the upper inner arm from the armpit to the elbow; we then trim away excess skin and fat along this incision. The remaining tissue is carefully draped to highlight the new, toned contour of your arm. The incisions are closed and bandaged. The wraps are removed in a few days, and you are placed in a removable sleeve and are able to shower. All the sutures are self-dissolving to minimize scarring.
Limited-Incision Arm Lift
The traditional arm lift technique can result in visible scarring that runs the length of the upper arm. However, if you have mild arm laxity, this long incision may not be necessary. Qualifying patients can consider a limited-incision arm lift, where the incision is made only in the armpit and may not be as visible.
Extended-Incision Arm Lift
If you have lost a significant amount of weight, then you might have sagging skin along the upper chest and under the armpit in addition to on your arms. With an extended incision, we can remove the skin from below the armpit to improve the overall contour of your upper body.
If you have stubborn deposits of fat on your arm, we can consider using liposuction. This gentle vacuum suction technique contours the arm and enhances definition. Liposuction may also be used across your chest and back to further complement your arm lift results. If you have good skin tone but just too much fat, liposuction alone may be used to remove the excess fat, and some tightening will occur.
Arm lift surgery is commonly combined with other body contouring techniques in post-weight loss patients. A mix of tummy tuck, breast lift, and neck lift surgeries may be considered to achieve the fit and defined body contour you desire. This approach has financial advantages as well as one recovery period due to all of the procedures being performed in one setting. Usually, a team approach is used and an additional plastic surgeon will be called in to assist in the operation to minimize the time under anesthesia. Keeping the procedure under six and a half hours does not increase complications when compared to a shorter procedure.
Postoperative bruising and swelling are likely to occur, which may cause some discomfort. The discomfort is usually not high. You will be placed in ace wraps for a few days and then changed to a compression arm sleeve that is to be worn to reduce swelling and promote better healing. You should rest for the first 48 hours after your procedure. You should be able to return to work within two weeks after surgery unless your job requires heavy lifting. With surgeon approval, you should be able to resume your regular exercise routine after four weeks, but you should slowly introduce lifting workouts. Swelling will subside around six weeks after your surgery.
After six weeks, your final results should be noticeable, other than the scars. The scars take up to a year to fade. Arm lift surgery provides long-lasting improvement to the tone and definition of your arms. However, arm lift surgery cannot prevent natural changes from occurring, which can be accelerated by additional weight gain or loss.
Arm lift surgery can result in a visible scar that runs along the inside of your arm. There are other techniques that leave the scar on the back of your arm, but this may be more evident. Since this scar is likely to fade, most people feel it is worth the improvement in their appearance. During your consultation, you can discuss scar minimizing techniques.