- Length: 2-3 hours (generally outpatient)
- Anesthesia: General
- Normal recovery: Return to work in 1-2 weeks, Resume light exercise after 4 weeks, swelling resolves completely after 4-8 weeks
- Possible side effects: Swelling, Bruising, Pain or Discomfort
Everyone wants the kind of tight, toned arms that look great in short sleeve shirts, but aging, genetic and weight fluctuations can cause the arms to develop drooping skin and pockets of fat that dieting and weight loss alone can’t get rid of. As we age, our skin loses elasticity, and once stretched out, it does not recoil back into its former shape, resulting in sagging that makes many patients self-conscious. An arm lift (a.k.a. Brachioplasty) is a procedure that combines liposuction to address the excessive fat deposits and a surgical removal of the excessive skin to create a well-defined, trim and toned upper arm that complements your figure as well as your wardrobe. Today’s arm lift techniques are safer and the scars are much less conspicuous than they have been in the past.
How Does an Arm Lift Work?
An Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) is usually performed under general anesthesia. The most common form of the procedure is a combination of liposuction and the surgical removal and tightening of the excess skin. In some cases, patients may be able to achieve their desired results with liposuction or a skin lift alone.
The surgeon will make one or more incision in the upper arm and perform liposuction to remove excess fat. Loose and sagging skin will then be trimmed, tightened and sutured in place with absorbable stitches. The arm is then placed into a compressive garment to help ensure an even contour. Sometimes a surgical drain is needed to reduce complications. An arm lift is a body sculpting procedure and is intended to be a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. Dramatic changes in appearance will be visible almost immediately, but maintaining the results will require a healthy diet and exercise.
Patients can expect some swelling and bruising, which will peak 2-3 days after surgery. Individual instructions will vary, but most patients can return to work within 2 weeks.
Dr. Min’s Approach to Arm Lift Surgery
The Newvue team will work with you to ensure you achieve beautifully sculpted arms that are natural, match in proportion to your upper body and give you great confidence, even in short sleeves.
Dr. George Min is a board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in body sculpting procedures and has a reputation for delivering beautiful, balanced results. He takes a conservative approach that focuses on patient safety and natural, long lasting results. Dr. Min does not believe in cutting corners, and our state-of-the-art Bellevue facility is unlike any you will find in the Seattle or Bellevue area. Our on-site surgical suite is equipped with the latest technology and is one of only a handful of locations to meet the new stringent 2012 safety certification standards.
We pride ourselves in practicing excellence, not only surgically, but also in patient care and education.
Your Arm Lift Options
The types of incisions will depend on your health, body shape and the extent of your procedure. Some scarring is inevitable, but the procedures have advanced significantly in recent years, and much can be done to minimize visible scars. The most common locations for arm lift incisions are:
- Inner arm incision
- Back of arm incision
- Axilla (armpit) incision
Your Initial Arm Lift Consultation
The role of the consultation is to ensure that you feel informed, confident and excited, and we’ll take as much time as we need to get there.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Min will ask you about your desired appearance, as well as any wardrobe preferences that may help determine the location of your incisions. He will also ask you questions about your general health and activity levels to determine if he can meet your expectations. He will walk you through your options, explain the details of the brachioplasty procedure, and answer any questions you may have. You will have an opportunity to review before and after photos.
Dr. Min will assess factors such as the quality of skin, the amount of underlying fatty tissue, the amount of excess skin, the elasticity of the skin, and the contour of your arms. He will share and explain his recommendations with you about what is most appropriate for your body and what results you can expect. Together you will decide on the details and timing of your procedure.
Finally, Dr. Min will make sure you know exactly what will happen on the day of your procedure, what you will experience while you recover, and what you can expect in the months and years to follow.
Safety & Risks of Arm Lift Surgery
Our approach at Newvue is always to put our patients’ safety above all other concerns, and Dr. Min is a recognized expert with an impeccable track record for body sculpting. We have invested in absolutely state of the art tools, and our on-site surgical suite is one of the first in the region to be fully approved under the new 2012 stringent new state mandated safety standards.
Arm lifts are very common and safe procedure. Nonetheless, we feel it is important that all our patients fully understand the risk associated with this—or any—surgical procedure. The most important thing to know is that Dr. Min and Newvue will stand by you should any complications arise and do everything we can to help you achieve your desired result.
Risks associated with Arm Lifts include:
- Reaction to Anesthesia: Some patients experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia that may result in nausea or vomiting, allergic reactions and in very rare cases death. Be sure to discuss any medical allergies with your surgeon.
- Infection: as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Infection will generally occur within days or weeks of your procedure, and in most cases can be treated with medication. In rare cases, and additional surgery may be required to treat severe infections
- Bleeding & Seroma: Some patients are more prone to bruising or swelling than others and, in some cases, may need placement of a surgical drain.
- Loss of Sensation: Some patients may experience temporary or permanent loss of sensation in or around the treated area.
Prior to Your Arm Lift Procedure
Prior to your surgery, we will schedule a preoperative appointment with Dr. Min. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that your procedure goes smoothly and efficiently. Our staff will review your consent forms with you, answer any questions you might have, and the risks and benefits of surgery will be thoroughly reviewed. You may be given your prescriptions to be filled prior to your surgery. You will be given a list of medications and supplements to avoid for two weeks before and after surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery. You should not smoke for at least two weeks following surgery.
Your Arm Lift Procedure
We will do everything in our power to help you feel informed and relaxed on the day of your procedure. After you arrive at our Bellevue office, you will meet with Dr. Min and with your anesthesiologist. Once any questions you have are answered, you will be given medication to help you relax.
You will be brought into the surgical suite, where you will be prepped for surgery and given a general anesthetic. Surgery usually takes 2-3 hours.
You will wake up in the recovery room, where you’ll be closely monitored. We’ll let you know how everything went and advise you on what to expect as you recover. You’ll want to be sure to arrange for someone to pick you up and stay with you for the first couple days as you adjust.
After Your Arm Lift Procedure
You’re still our patient after you leave, and we will be there for you as you recover to answer any questions you may have and advise you on any side effects you may be feeling. You can expect to feel tired and sore after the surgery, and you will experience some swelling and discomfort in the treated area, both of which can be managed with medication.
We like our patient to wear a compressive dressing for about 6 weeks following surgery, but should be able to shower normally after 5-7 days. While some movement is permissible, most patients will want to avoid strenuous exercise for several weeks.
Most patients return to work in 1-2 weeks, but you should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks, and avoid high impact activities (skiing, wakeboarding, contact sports) for the duration of your recovery (6-8 weeks). Your stiches will dissolve and be absorbed by your body, so you will not have to worry about getting them removed.
Here’s a timeline of a typical recovery:
First 24 hours:
- Rest, eat and drink normally (no alcohol), avoid activity
- Effects of anesthesia will be gone
- Your 1st follow up visit with Dr. Min
- Swelling will peak and begin to subside
- Minimal activity, but light walking may begin
- You can shower normally
- Remove surgical drains if placed during the surgery
- Your 2nd follow up consultation with Dr. Min
- Removal of compressive dressing
- Most patients can return to work at this point
- 3rd follow up consultation
- Resume normal (light) exercise and physical activity (such as jogging)
- 4rd follow up visit
- Resume all activities (including things like skiing, wakeboarding)
- Full results will be visible
- Expect final results in about 6 months
- 1st annual checkup
You can expect to see more sculpted and toned arms immediately. Scarring varies and will fade over time. Dr. Min and the Newvue staff are always available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, during your recovery and after. We want to ensure that you are completely thrilled with your new look, and we’ll consider you our patient for life.