Upper Arm Lift
Brachioplasty, commonly referred to as an upper arm lift, is a cosmetic procedure that reshapes the underside of the upper arm from the underarm region to the elbow, resulting in smoother skin and contours for a more toned and proportionate appearance. The best candidates for an arm lift are non-smokers whose weight is relatively stable and have excess sagging skin that droops downward. Arm lift candidates should be physically healthy, psychologically stable and realistic in their expectations.
An arm lift carries a greater risk and may not be appropriate for individuals with medical problems such as diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, poor blood circulation, or those who have recently had surgery near the area to be contoured.
An arm lift is a cosmetic procedure to improve the contours of the upper arms by removing excess skin. The incision length and pattern will vary depending on the amount and distribution of the excess skin. Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm and may extend from the underarm (arm pit) to just above the elbow. If fat is to be reduced during the arm lift, it will be suctioned with liposuction. Underlying supportive tissue is then tightened and reshaped with internal sutures, and the skin is smoothed over the new contour of the arm. The incicion is then closed with sutures that will be removed in one to two weeks. When the procedure is complete, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions, and you will be wrapped in a compression garment to minimize swelling and support the surgical site. One or more small tubes may be placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood that may collect.
An arm lift is accompanied by local, epidural or general anesthesia and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Extensive procedures may require a short inpatient stay.
Preparing for Surgery:
Specific information will be provided prior to surgery including guidelines on eating, drinking, and smoking, as well as the avoidance of, or taking of, certain vitamins, iron tablets and other medications. If you develop a cold or an infection of any kind, especially a skin infection, your surgery may have to be postponed. Though it is rarely necessary, your doctor may recommend that you have blood drawn prior to surgery in case it is needed during surgery. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and help you for a couple of days post-operatively, if needed.
- Temporary Bruising
- Rippling or bagginess of skin
- Pigmentation changes
- Skin Injury
- Fluid retention
- Blood clots
- Possible revisional surgery
Learn More About the Procedure
Click below to learn what to do before and after the procedure.
At this visit, we will: Take your payment and answer any questions you may have regarding the procedure. At this time, Dr. Frost may not be available, but if you would like to speak with him again, please let us know and we will schedule this visit when he is available. Provide you with any prescriptions that you may need for after surgery. We encourage you to have these prescriptions filled prior to your surgery to avoid having to stop at the pharmacy after your procedure. Please let us know if you have any specific pain medication requests, and we will try to prescribe the medication that works best for you. Make arrangements for any necessary pre-operative evaluations that need to be performed, such as blood tests, pregnancy testing, EKG, etc.
Diet and Medications:
Please, DO NOT eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight prior to your surgery. This is VERY important. Your surgery will be CANCELLED if you eat or drink anything after midnight. The only exception is a sip of water with any medications that you must take. Generally, you should take high blood pressure and heart medications. Do NOT take arthritis medications and do NOT take diabetic medications (including insulin), unless specifically instructed to do so.
Bathing and Clothing Prior to Surgery:
Please take a shower and use antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of your surgery. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing such as a front button shirt and loose pants since these items are easier to put on and take off after surgery.
Take it slow and easy with your diet. Start with clear liquids and simply advance as tolerated. It is normal to have some nausea from the anesthetic and pain medication, but by taking it easy, this should quickly resolve.
Take it easy, Walking is good, bouncing is bad. A good rule of thumb is: “If it hurts, don’t do it.” You may feel like you cannot stand up straight. Feel free to walk bent-over for the first week or so. You will be able to stand straight (and proud) soon. As you start to feel stronger, you may gradually increase your activity. Do not plan to drive for 2 to 3 weeks since restricted movement may limit your response time in an emergency. Do not do any abdominal exercise for at least a month to six weeks. Actually, if we tighten the muscles enough, you may never do another sit-up again!
There is discomfort after any surgery. The goal of pain medication is to prevent pain, so do not wait until you are really hurting to take your medication. Follow the instructions on your prescription in order to receive the best relief possible. Narcotic pain medication can cause constipation, so drink plenty of water, eat fruit and use an over-the-counter laxative, if needed. You may switch to an over-the-counter pain medication at any time you choose.
Post-Operative Dressings and Bathing:
Bathing is limited mostly by the compression garment(s). Wear the garment(s) day and night until instructed that it can be removed. Sponge bathe. Some patients prefer to shower with the garment on and then dry it with a hair dryer. Do whatever is most comfortable for you, but don’t remove the garment(s).
The results of an arm lift are visible almost immediately; however, the results may initially be obscured by swelling and bruising. Some visible scars will remain, but the overall results are long-lasting, provided you maintain a stable weight and general fitness.
Our goal is for you to be informed. If you have a question, please call our office at 850.474.8333.