Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Brachioplasty (arm lift) is a surgical procedure performed to remove the loose, hanging skin that often develops on the underside of the upper arm as a result of aging, weight loss or weight gain. Brachioplasty is ideal for patients who have an excessive amount of hanging skin and/or fat that does not respond to diet and exercise; maintain a stable weight; do not smoke; and have realistic expectations for surgery. Patients must also be healthy overall, with no major medical conditions that can be affected by surgery.

The Brachioplasty Procedure

During brachioplasty, an incision is made along the inside of the upper arm; it often spans the underarm to the elbow. Excess fat is removed, either by direct excision or liposuction. Excess skin is trimmed away, and the arm's underlying supportive tissue is tightened using internal absorbable sutures. Skin is then sutured back together; absorbable stitches may or may not be used to close the incision. Brachioplasty is performed under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation and, depending on the amount of skin and fat that are removed, takes 2 to 4 hours. Patients are able to return home the same day as surgery.

For a patient who needs only a small amount of skin and fat removed, a minimal-incision arm lift may be performed. A less invasive way to remove excess fat and tissue, it requires only a few small incisions near the underarm.

Recovery from Brachioplasty

After brachioplasty, patients typically experience swelling and bruising, as well as mild discomfort that can be managed with pain medication. Drainage tubes may be placed at the incision site to collect any excess blood or fluid for the first few days after surgery. Compression bandages are usually worn to promote proper healing. The results of brachioplasty are visible right away, but become more apparent as swelling and bruising subsides, which usually takes 2 weeks.

Risks of Brachioplasty

In addition to the risks associated with any surgery, those related to brachioplasty include the following:

  • Loss of sensation
  • Permanent swelling
  • Persistent pain
  • Fat necrosis
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Nerve, blood-vessel and/or muscle damage

The scar left by brachioplasty is significant, although it fades over time.

 


If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to learn more about the services Dr. Austin provides, please call 503.561.7000 or submit an online form by clicking here.

Patient Education


Meet Dr. Austin

Originally from California, Dr. Austin practiced in Mt. Vernon, Washington before relocating to Salem, Oregon in 1996. He was educated at Stanford University and UCLA School of Medicine, and received his residency training at the University of Washington, Seattle, and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Austin’s practice encompasses a broad range of aesthetic cosmetic surgery, as well as reconstructive surgery following cancer surgery, trauma, and congenital anomalies.

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