Woman Stretching, loose arm skin

Brachioplasty (Arm reduction/lift) Explained

A brachioplasty is a type of body reshaping that involves reducing and lifting the sagging skin on the upper arms. This treatment can also include liposuction, however, this should be used as a weight loss substitute. Those best suited to a brachioplasty are within a few pounds of their ideal weight and should have good skin elasticity and sufficient loose skin for the procedure to have the desired outcome.

What happens during a Brachioplasty?

Brachioplasty loose arm skin

This procedure usually takes 90 minutes to two hours, while the patient is under general anaesthesia. Your surgeon makes a long incision from your armpit to your elbow, remove sections of skin and fat, and lift and tighten the remaining skin and tissue so that is smooth. The incision can be minimal depending on the severity of your case, so make sure to talk to your doctor about how big your incision will be and what it will look like after surgery.

After the surgery, your surgeon’s team will apply dressings and might add small tubes to drain fluids from the wound if needed. You will have elastic bandages to support the area as it heals, and you will have medication to deal with any post-surgery pain.

This surgery usually takes about two hours, though it depends on the severity of your condition and whether or not liposuction is included in the procedure.

Recovery Period

You might be asked to stay in the hospital for a day or two after the surgery. Total recovery takes one to two weeks. You will likely experience pain and discomfort in the first week, which you can manage using the pain medication you were given. Most people are able to return to work after two weeks, though this depends on the type of work you do.

In order to support the area as it heals, you will need to wear a tight-fitting garment around your arm. Avoid any strenuous activity until your doctor tells you it’s OK. You will have permanent scars, but they will fade with time. They should flatten and lighten in colour within 9-12 months.

You should maintain an active and healthy lifestyle once your recovery is over. Eating healthy and exercising regularly is essential. The results of this surgery are meant to be permanent, but if your weight fluctuates greatly the results might not stay as you want them to.

Preparing for the surgery

  • You should stop smoking several weeks before undergoing surgery.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid complications before and after surgery.
  • Maintain regular exercise (with your doctor’s permission).
  • Do not shave or wax the area that will be incised in the week before surgery.
  • Take a bath or shower the day of your surgery.

What are the alternatives to surgery?

Brachioplasty exercises

Most patients seek out a brachioplasty after trying lifestyle changes and not seeing any success. Examples of these lifestyle changes are:

  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising regularly
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts

You should try these options first before deciding to undergo surgery.

healthy food

What are the risks associated with this surgery?

As with every surgery, there are possible complications associated with a brachioplasty. You should always discuss your concerns with your doctor beforehand.

General complications of any surgery:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Scarring

Specific complications of brachioplasty:

  • Severe and persistent pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Numb skin
  • Asymmetrical appearance of upper arms

Choosing the right surgeon

Now that you know a bit more about what to expect from a brachioplasty, you can be well informed when you meet with experienced plastic surgeons or aesthetic clinics for a consultation. You need to discuss with them beforehand exactly what your expectations are so that they can determine if your desired results can be achieved with this procedure. Make sure you are comfortable with your surgeon and wait at least two weeks between having your consultation and booking the operation so that you can be sure you are making the right decision.