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Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a procedure designed to contour the upper arm region. When fat accumulates in the upper arm, the skin can stretch and loosen—often causing a loss of shape or a hanging arm appearance. Brachioplasty can remove excess skin and fat that may be compromising a sculpted look in the arms, as well as circumferentially tighten the underlying supportive tissue. Board-certified plastic surgeon David Bottger, MD performs arm lift surgery at his Philadelphia practice, and can personalize the procedure to restore definition and shape to the arms.

Who is a Candidate for Arm Lift Surgery?

The best results from an arm lift are seen in patients who are at a healthy weight and simply seeking to tighten their arm shape. In addition, arm lift patients should:

Men and women who have skin laxity from significant weight loss are typically excellent candidates for an arm lift. If the arms exhibit good skin tone and the only concern is excess fat, liposuction alone can provide a beautiful contour. However, if there is significant skin laxity or sagging, as frequently occurs with massive weight loss or aging, a brachioplasty will be able to achieve more comprehensive enhancement.

How is Arm Lift Surgery Performed?

The arm lift procedure can be performed under local anesthesia with sedation, but more commonly utilizes general anesthesia. Surgery involves an incision in the inner upper arm region, which allows excision of loose, hanging skin and subsequent tightening of this region. Depending on the degree of fat excess in the arm, liposuction may also be included in the treatment plan to further contour the arm. This body contouring surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis and does not require an overnight stay.

What is Recovery From an Arm Lift Like?

Following the procedure, a surgical wrap or compression garment will be worn to protect your incisions and help facilitate your new arm shape. Drains may be placed to decrease fluid buildup, and one of our nurses will show you how to care for your drains after the procedure. The results are often noticeable immediately, although the final outcome will likely be obscured by post-surgical swelling. This swelling will subside as your body heals and the results will improve over time. Patients typically return to work within one week, with a full return to your daily routine expected after two weeks. Exercise should be avoided for at least four weeks, or until Dr. Bottger advises otherwise.

Will I Have Arm Lift Scars?

The incision for brachioplasty is made on the inner arm and the resulting scar will extend from the underarms to the elbow region. Dr. Bottger positions incisions so they are not readily visible when the arms are at the sides, allowing scarring to remain inconspicuous. To further decrease the prominence of your scars, Dr. Bottger will give you instructions on proper wound care to enable optimal healing of your incisions. Applying skin creams and sun protection can also encourage surgical scars to fade somewhat over time.

Are There Potential Complications With an Arm Lift?

Risks and complications associated with any cosmetic surgery include, but are not limited to, infection, bleeding (hematoma), skin loss, numbness, and unfavorable scarring. Potential issues unique to brachioplasty include contouring irregularities. Smoking significantly increases the risk of skin necrosis (death) and delayed wound healing, so Dr. Bottger advises abstaining from tobacco use at least six weeks before surgery. Although possible, significant complications are uncommon. The key to maximizing your health and safety during brachioplasty is choosing an experienced, qualified plastic surgeon who you can trust to achieve the desired results. Selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to perform your arm lift can greatly minimize the likelihood of potential problems.

How Much Does Brachioplasty Cost?

An arm lift can cost $6,000 to $9,000 depending on the details of your procedure, a range that includes fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, post-operative care, and other related expenses. Other factors that can affect your cost estimate include whether additional liposuction was incorporated into your procedure, and the type of incision utilized. After your needs are evaluated by Dr. Bottger in a consultation, our patient care coordinator will be able to provide you with a personalized quote of your treatment along with your financial options. We accept plastic surgery financing plans from CareCredit®, a respected lending institution that can make the cost of an arm lift more affordable for qualified patients who would rather pay in low monthly installments. For more information about the price of an arm lift or our accepted payment methods, please call our practice to speak to a member of our office.

If you are in the Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, or West Chester areas and would like to know more about the arm lift procedure, please contact our brachioplasty surgeon today.