Face lifts. Brow lifts. Butt lifts. Neck lifts. There are many ways to give your body a proverbial boost when things start to look a little droopy. But a procedure that doesn’t receive nearly as much attention is the upper arm lift.
This may be surprising to some, given just how many people are so self-conscious of the way their arms appear as the skin loses its elasticity. It’s a natural effect of the aging process, and few people can escape it.
The most likely sign is flappy skin that hangs from beneath the upper arms. If you enjoy wearing sleeveless garments and love to go swimming, you might find yourself more and more aware of this significant change to your arms.
Also known as a brachioplasty, the upper arm lift can be transformative in myriad ways. Not only can it boost your self-esteem and restore your feelings of self-worth if you truly dislike your upper arms, but it also makes an enormous physical difference. The procedure is designed to tighten your skin and eliminate the flappy, fatty area that often resembles wings. You’ll be left with sleeker, more toned, and more defined arms that help you look and feel your best.
Causes of Loose Skin
Blame it on time. You might not even realize that its ravages have crept up on you until you find yourself in the dressing room, spinning around and admiring the way that stunning black dress conforms to your figure. You raise your arms to make sure it fits like a dream — only to catch sight of your very own set of batwings sagging low. It’s enough to deflate anyone, but it’s important to remember that it’s not unusual.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As people age, they naturally lose collagen and elastin. As they break down, the skin becomes less flexible. The result is looser, droopier skin. Even genetics can play some role, especially if your own parents were prone to similar issues.
Perhaps the most common culprit, however, is weight loss. While there’s nothing that compares to the amazing feeling of shedding those unwanted pounds, it’s an unpleasant fact that with said loss comes crepey, loose skin. This can contribute to the appearance of those baggy zones under your arms. Weight fluctuations may also be to blame.
What You Can Expect
You’ve made the decision to see your plastic surgeon and are ready to undergo a brachioplasty. It’s a fairly straightforward process, but it’s important to understand what to expect before you go under the knife.
- Consultation: Your initial consultation gives you a chance to ask your surgeon questions about the procedure, learn about the risks, and discuss your desired outcome. For this, you might be asked to point out to your doctor exactly the areas that you want to adjust. Your provider may also assess your skin’s elasticity and show you before-and-after images so you have a realistic idea of what to expect of your procedure. You’ll also discuss your anesthesia options, potential complications, and things you’ll need to do at home to recovery properly.
- Procedure: You’ll be put under with anesthesia for your upper arm lift, which generally lasts for no more than two or three hours depending on the size of the affected areas. Your provider will remove portions of fat, along with a section of skin from the innermost side of the back of your arm. If necessary, some skin from the top of your arm leading to the armpit may also be excised. The skin is then pulled taut, smoothed, and closed to reveal a new silhouette.
- Aftermath: After the procedure, you’ll have on a sterile dressing to reduce the likelihood of complications You will also need to wear a compression garment to facilitate the recovery process and keep swelling to a minimum. Drains might also be placed if necessary. You’ll receive discharge instructions to maintain the wound at home, and your surgeon will likely see you again to make sure that it’s healing properly.
- Recovery: The general recovery period is approximately six weeks, although you’ll find that you can perform some light activities within a few days after the procedure. You should be able to perform more strenuous activities within a month’s time. As you heal, don’t be surprised if a scar develops in the surgical area. It’s usually long, extending from the underarm to the elbow, and may at first look pink before it fades to a soft white. If you have issues with scar tissue in the aftermath, your surgeon may advise you to undergo laser treatments to lessen the severity.
Types of Brachioplasty Procedures
There’s usually no one-size-fits-all treatment where surgery is concerned, and brachioplasty procedures are certainly no different. Your surgeon may elect to perform one of several different types.
- Limited-Incision Brachioplasty: This is ideal for candidates whose lose skin is limited to the armpit area, and who don’t carry too much fat under the arms otherwise. In this case, your surgeon can often pull taut that skin and simply tuck it into your armpit.
- Standard Brachioplasty: The standard procedure is an optimal choice if you suffer from the aforementioned “batwing” concerns. If this is your situation, your surgeon will remove all of the flab from the armpit to the elbow.
- Extended Brachioplasty: In some instances, excessive fat and loose skin may also affect the area along your chest walls beneath your underarms. During an extended brachioplasty, your surgeon will remove these contents, as well. This is usually an option for patients who have lost a considerable amount of weight.
If you’re intrigued by the possibility of waving farewell to your old arms and saying hello to an entirely new look, schedule a Dallas plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Raja Mohan and find out whether you’re an ideal candidate for an upper arm lift.