Arm Lift

An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is designed to give you firm, attractive, well-defined arms by removing excess skin and fat.  In some cases, arm lift surgery can be combined with targeted liposuction to improve overall contours in the upper arm and surrounding areas.

We are seeing more and more patients in Dr. Sabry’s practice who are making the commitment to healthy weight either through diet and exercise or by having surgical interventions, While many are much improved overall, some end up with a large amount of loose, excess skin on the arms that gives a ‘bat wing’ appearance. It is important to understand that arm lift surgery is not considered a weight loss procedure. It is not recommended if you still need to lose a significant amount of weight, because your arms will continue to change. It is best suited for men and women that are in relatively good shape and at their desired weight.

Prepare
Dr. Sabry will have a thorough discussion with you on the pros and cons of the arm lift surgery. The most important consideration is accepting that arm lift surgery is a trade-off; you will be trading a more improved contour of the arm with having a scar that runs lengthwise under the arm area. It will fade in time, but never disappear completely.

Once you have a clear understanding of the factors involved, Dr. Sabry will examine your upper arms to determine the fat distribution, as well as the amount of excess skin present.  He will review your medical history and discuss other factors that may affect arm lift surgery, such as previous surgeries and history of weight fluctuations.  He will thoroughly discuss your goals and expectations, including possible risks.  If you are a smoker, you will be asked to quit smoking for 6-8 weeks prior to your procedure.

As you approach the date of your surgery you will have a comprehensive preoperative visit in our office approximately two weeks before your surgery. A complete list of “dos and don’ts” will be reviewed as well as the pre and postoperative instructions and any questions that remain will be answered. You will be directed to avoid anything that has a blood-thinning effect (aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E etc.) for two weeks before surgery. You will be asked to minimize alcohol intake. Basic blood work for preoperative testing will be ordered.

Procedure
Dr. Sabry has extensive experience and expertise in the full range of arm lift surgery options.  He will recommend the procedure that best suits your specific needs and desired outcome based on the goals and expectations you both discussed and agreed to. The average procedure takes 2-4 hours and can be done on an outpatient basis or in the hospital. The most common brachioplasty procedure options are:

  • Short-scar arm lift – Mild excess skin in the inner arm.  Incision is placed in the arm pit (axilla).
  • Limited incision arm lift – Mild to moderate excess skin in the upper arm.  Incision extends from arm pit to mid portion of the upper arm.
  • Traditional arm lift – Moderate to severe excess skin.  Incision extends from arm pit to elbow.  A traditional arm lift may have a classic “T” incision in the arm pit, or a “Z”-plasty incision to minimize the appearance of scarring.
  • Extended arm lift – Severe excess skin that extends beyond the upper arms.  Incision runs from arm pit to elbow, and then may extend to the lateral chest wall and the breast, as necessary.

Recovery
Small drainage tubes are placed during surgery and maintained for a few days. Dissolving sutures are used and do not require removal. You can expect to have swelling in the arms for 1-2 weeks after surgery.  Most patients report mild to moderate pain after the surgery, which is usually well-tolerated with medication. You will be directed to wear compression garment for two weeks following surgery. Light exercises may begin a week after surgery, but more strenuous activities should be avoided for 3 to 4 weeks. Dr. Sabry will see you for post-operative visits. He and our staff will answer any questions you may have about your recovery, as well as your overall health and well-being.

Complications
All surgical procedures carry a risk of complications. Under Dr. Sabry’s expert and meticulous care all measures are taken to minimize the potential.  Although they rarely occur, risks associated with surgery may include infection, poor wound healing, bleeding, scarring and complications from the anesthesia.