Fluctuations in weight, age, and genetics can lead to a droopy, sagging appearance of the upper arms. This excess tissue cannot be corrected through exercise and may be uncomfortable, unsightly, and restrict wardrobe options.
What Happens During an Arm Lift?
An arm lift is performed as an outpatient procedure and takes approximately 2-3 hours. An incision is made on the inside aspect of the arm and typically extends from the axilla to above the elbow. Excess skin and fat is removed and internal sutures are placed to help re-contour the upper arm. The skin is then closed meticulously to maximize wound healing. A temporary drain may be placed to drain excess fluid. While every effort is made to minimize scar length, the scar will be visible depending on the position of your arm. Dr. Belz will review the procedure, risks and benefits, and post-operative course during your personalized consultation.
The Recovery After Arm Lift Surgery
Diligent elevation and the use of a compression garment help minimize bruising and swelling, which commonly occur after a brachioplasty. Most individuals are able to resume light activity and return to work 7-10 days after surgery. Strenuous activity and exercise should be avoided for approximately 4 to 6 weeks or until released by Dr. Belz.
Am I a good candidate for an arm lift?
There are a few reasons some people develop looser upper arms and others don’t. If you’ve gained and then lost a good deal of weight, this has likely stretched the arm skin. This area is notorious for not being able to tighten back down after the skin has been stretched. Some people can blame genetics; they are prone to the skin and muscle loosening more than others.
Is this a good procedure for you? That depends on how you feel about your upper arms. If the loose skin and muscle on the underside of your upper arms moves back and forth when you shift your arm, an arm lift could correct that. If you’ve consciously been avoiding showing your upper arms because of the loose skin, then this could be a good surgery for you. After all, avoiding sleeveless blouses and swimsuits in toasty San Antonio is no way to go through life!
Dr. Belz wants her arm lift patients to be within 10 percent of their ideal weight. That’s because these are not weight loss procedures; they are more focused on removing stretched skin and tightening underlying muscles and support tissues. In fact, if you gain and lose a fair amount of weight after having an arm lift, you can develop loose skin all over again.
It’s also important to consider that this procedure creates a lengthy incision. The scar lightens quickly and becomes far less visible, but it will still be there.
Will the results of an arm lift be permanent?
These procedures with Dr. Belz create permanent slimming and contouring of your upper arms. The excess skin she removes is gone for good, as are the unwanted pockets of fat. Loose muscles she tightens will remain that way.
Of course, you will continue to age, and aging means our tissues slacken. But your arms will never sag and become loose again to the degree that predicated your having this surgery. If you maintain a healthy weight, your slimmer, contoured arms will be there for all to see for decades. These are very satisfying procedures for Dr. Belz’s patients from San Antonio and the surrounding areas.
Is recovery after an arm lift very painful?
These recoveries are not difficult, and they do not involve much acute pain. This area of the upper arms isn’t overly populated with nerve fibers. Pain is manageable, and the area tends to heal quickly.
What are the benefits of having an arm lift?
It’s an unfortunate fact, but some women are more likely to develop looseness in their upper arms than others. Factors such as gaining and then losing weight also come into play. Part of the problem is the location. Since our upper arms hang straight downward most of the time, they constantly are fighting gravity. Plus, the skin in this area tends to lose its elasticity more than many other areas of the body.
While loose skin hanging below your upper arms may not be a big deal if you live in the Yukon, in sunny San Antonio, where we are constantly in sleeveless blouses or sundresses, it’s a problem. No one wants to wear something that shows off their loose, flappy upper arms. Colloquially known as “bat wings,” the problem can make you only wear clothes that keep your arms covered. Bathing suits? No thanks. Sleeveless tennis dresses? Nope.
An arm lift can change this. When Dr. Belz tightens your stretched skin and loosened muscles in your upper arm, this gives you back arms that are ready for all to see. Bring on the spaghetti strap fashions! Give me that swimsuit! Sleeveless golf blouse at Hill Country Golf Club? You bet!
What are the risks involved with an arm lift?
Arm lifts are surgery, so they have the same risks inherent in any surgery: excessive bleeding, poor incision healing, reaction to anesthesia, infection, and the like. These are all very rare thanks to the board-certified training, expertise, and experience of Dr. Belz.
The upper arms involve large muscles and limited nerve exposure, so tightening the area up is a relatively straightforward procedure. Dr. Belz’s patients are very satisfied with their results from her arm lifts.
Will I lose weight after my arm lift?
No. The excess skin and minor amounts of fat Dr. Belz removes in these procedures don’t add up to much weight. Plus, these aren’t weight loss procedures; they are arm contouring procedures.