Brachioplasty, or arm lift, is a common procedure after massive weight loss and for women after menopause. In both cases the upper arm skin hangs causing unwanted flapping. In some cases there is also subcutaneous fat that needs to be addressed for an optimal result.
The amount of extra skin determines the orientation and length of the incision required to remove it. A small amount of extra skin near the armpit can be resected with a transverse incision easily concealed in the armpit. If there is a large amount of skin, the incision is along the entire length of the upper arm resulting in a much more obvious scar.
If there is unwanted fat in the upper arm, liposuction is included in the procedure. Liposuction can be the sole treatment if the skin is not damaged by stretch marks or loss of elasticity. Skin removal can be the sole treatment if the is little extra fat. Most cases need both liposuction to deflate the arm and skin resection for contouring.
At Berkshire Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery we perform brachioplasty in an outpatient setting under sedation or general anesthesia. Patients must wear a compression garment, much like tight sleeves, for at least two weeks to prevent fluid build up because we do not use drains. Most patients have limited discomfort and consider the scar well worth the improvement in the shape of their upper arms.