What Is Arm Lift Surgery? Brachioplasty: Risky New Plastic Surgery Fad

Sometimes all the tricep extensions and weight lifting won't get rid of the extra skin under the arms. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Jeff Drew

Sometimes all the tricep extensions and weight lifting in the world won’t get rid of the extra skin under your arms. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Jeff Drew

The latest fad in plastic surgery is having an arm lift. Yes, you read that right, arm lift surgery – but the surgery comes with significant risks, due to a recent study.

According to the NY Daily News, arm lift surgery has increased by more than 4,000 percent in the last ten years. People who have had dramatic weight loss and want to tone up their arms are getting upper arm lifts, a surgery called brachioplasty.

Sometimes all the exercise and lifting weights in the world will not tone up the loose skin you end up with after weight loss… But is this surgery, which leaves an unsightly permanent scar, and leaves you unable to use your arms or hands for a few weeks, the best solution?

What is Brachioplasty?

Arm lift surgery, called brachioplasty, reshapes the under-part of the arm from the underarm region to the elbow. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, during surgery, the surgeon will make an incision on the inside of your arm or the back of your arm, which may extend to your elbow. If they need to remove fat, they’ll also do liposuction at this time. Then, they reshape the underlying tissue and smooth out your skin.

Once they’re done smoothing out your arm, doctors will close the incision with sutures, which are stitches that hold your skin together. The sutures will either be the sort you can absorb, or stitches your doctor will have to remove in one to two weeks. You’ll notice a smooth, tighter arm, usually right after surgery – but it can take a few days before the swelling and bruising go away, and even longer before you’ll actually be able to use your arms and hands. It can take up to 2 or 3 weeks to restore normal use of your limbs after this cosmetic surgery. If you’re a smoker, or are around second-hand smoke, your healing time will be even longer.

After surgery, your doctor will wrap your incision in bandages and a compression sleeve to minimize swelling. They may also place a small tube under the skin to allow for fluid to drain out. Your individual care plan, including pain medications, will be up to your doctor and your personal situation.

Click to Read Page Two: Arm Lift Study Shows Almost 20% of Patients Experience Major Complications

© Copyright 2013 Janelle Vaesa, MPH, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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  1. Antoinette says

    Any surgery is risky, not just cosmetic surgery. But if you choose a good surgeon and respect his post-op recommendations there’s no reason to be worried.
    I had arm lift in Toronto and Dr. Jerome Edelstein did a great job. Can’t say I wasn’t afraid but I trusted him and that proved to be the best decision. The recovery period is very very important so don’t ignore it.

  2. says

    Yes, I hear brachioplasty is up, however breast augmentation and liposuction are still most the most sought procedures in my practice. Ms Obama, the latest in women to emulate, does have well toned arms. I think one might have to work out a little to get those arms, however. Well toned with nice biceps. Lift weights, ladies. Brachioplasty is a helpful surgery for people who have lost a large amount of weight. And yes, it does leave a scar. I still say, stick with being the best YOU possible, and that may mean working out in addition to surgical procedures.

    Dr Rhys Branman
    Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center

    • Karen says

      This is a very over simplistic, not to mention, condescending comment. “lift weight, ladies.”Really? I have never been overweight and currently weigh 125 pounds. I am also the same age as Mrs. Obama. However because of genetics, I have larger arms. I look at photos of my Mom and Grandma and can see where I got my arms. I have worked with a trainer lifting weights for over two years and my arms, while significantly improved, are still flabby and only slightly toned.

      I am seriously considering this surgery as a last resort and not because I don’t work out.

  3. Jeanne O'Byrne says

    Most women over the age of 35 want a change in fashion from sleeveless to 1/3 to 2/3 sleeve length . Yet the fashion industry refuses to accommodate this need. Ask any salesclerk which sleeve length flies off the shelf and they will agree.
    Could we ask for a comfortable yet attractive shoe while we’re at it?

    • says

      Hi Jeanne, I am a “woman of a certain age, and I too buy up every single 3/4 sleeve item I can get my hands on, and just gave up on finding a true 3/4 length sleeve…still show that blobby bit around my elbows. I still did not want to give up, and instead just buy full length tops and take them to my dry cleaners and have them altered to just below the elbow…AFTER WASHING AND DRYING IN HOT WATER AND ON HIGH HEAT IN THE DRYER….and have women in my age group (total strangers) stop me at the grocery store, all clothing stores, store salespeople and they are so taken aback….usually by the cost involved….usually about $10.00 for a simple t-shirt….but if you can sew (I have ten thumbs…can’t sew at all. But, if you get them on sale, like a Nordstrom Rack…$10.00 on top of say, $12 clearance price…Why Not? Hope this helps you, it has made my summer and and warm Fall a joy instead of praying for cold weather. I also have most of my weight from the waist down, and would not be caught in a swimming suit for love nor money…so I buy men’s board shorts and Lands End sun block tops for swimming. Now I love to swim and don’t give a hoot how strange it looks….I am just being me and to heck what other people think….I have regained confidence that is Priceless!

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