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Arm Lifts in Virginia Beach

Unfortunately, no amount of exercise or muscle strengthening will tighten the appearance of excess sagging skin and fat along the upper arms. Due to aging or drastic weight loss, a person’s arms develop the appearance of “bat wings”, or unwanted skin and fat extending from underneath the upper arms to the lateral chest. In these situations, an arm lift (brachioplasty) can give a more well-toned appearance by removing skin and fat redundancies. In less severe cases, liposuction alone can work wonders in firming the arm. So if you want to be comfortable and look great wearing sleeveless blouses, come in for a consultation, where we will determine which procedure will best suit your needs.

Table of Contents

What is an Arm Lift?

An arm lift, medically known as brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to improve the appearance of the upper arms by removing excess skin and fat, tightening the underlying supportive tissues, and reshaping the arm contours. This procedure is typically performed on individuals who have loose, sagging skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arms, often resulting from factors such as aging, significant weight loss, or genetics.

Ideal Candidate for an Arm Lift

An ideal candidate for an arm lift (brachioplasty) typically exhibits certain characteristics and meets specific criteria that make them well-suited for the procedure. Here are the qualities that define an ideal candidate for an arm lift:
  1. Excess Skin and Fat: Ideal candidates have significant excess skin and fat deposits in the upper arms, often resulting from factors such as aging, weight loss, or genetic predisposition. The excess skin may cause the arms to appear loose, saggy, or disproportionate to the rest of the body.
  2. Stable Weight: Candidates should be at or near their target weight and have maintained a stable weight for several months. Significant fluctuations in weight can affect the outcome of the arm lift procedure and may lead to changes in arm contour over time.
  3. Good Overall Health: Ideal candidates are in good general health, free from any medical conditions that could increase the risk of complications during surgery or impair the healing process. They should have no uncontrolled medical conditions that could pose a risk during anesthesia or surgery.
  4. Realistic Expectations: Candidates should have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the arm lift procedure and understand its limitations. While arm lift surgery can provide significant improvements in arm contour, it may not achieve perfection or address all aesthetic concerns.
  5. Non-Smoker or Willing to Quit: Smoking can impair healing, increase the risk of complications, and negatively impact surgical outcomes. Ideal candidates are non-smokers or willing to quit smoking before and after surgery to optimize healing and results.
  6. Emotional Readiness: Candidates should be emotionally prepared for the physical and emotional changes associated with arm lift surgery, including the recovery process and potential adjustments to body image. They should have a positive attitude and realistic expectations about the changes to their appearance.
  7. Commitment to Post-Operative Care: Ideal candidates are committed to following all post-operative instructions provided by their plastic surgeon, including wound care, medication management, and activity restrictions. They should be willing to attend follow-up appointments and communicate any concerns or questions with their surgeon.
By meeting these criteria, candidates can ensure that they are suitable candidates for an arm lift and are likely to achieve safe and satisfactory results from the procedure. It’s essential for candidates to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in arm lift surgery to determine the most appropriate treatment plan and technique based on their unique needs and goals.

What Happens During an Arm Lift?

During an arm lift surgery, also known as brachioplasty, several key steps are typically involved to improve the appearance of the upper arms by removing excess skin and fat, tightening the underlying supportive tissues, and reshaping the arm contours. Here is an overview of what happens during the procedure:
  1. Anesthesia: Before the surgery begins, anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient’s comfort. The type of anesthesia used may vary depending on the extent of the procedure and the patient’s preferences. Options include general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation.
  2. Incision Placement: The surgeon carefully plans and marks the incision sites based on the extent of skin laxity and the desired outcome. The most common incision pattern for an arm lift extends from the armpit to the elbow, along the inner arm. In some cases, a shorter incision may be used if less skin tightening is needed.
  3. Skin and Fat Removal: Once the incisions are made, the surgeon lifts the skin and underlying tissue away from the muscles of the arm. Excess skin and fat are then removed from the upper arm area using surgical techniques such as cutting, excision, and liposuction.
  4. Muscle Tightening (Optional): If the underlying supportive tissues of the arm have become stretched or weakened, the surgeon may perform muscle tightening to improve arm contour and firmness. Sutures may be used to tighten and reshape the underlying tissues.
  5. Skin Redraping and Closure: After the excess skin and fat have been removed, the remaining skin is redraped over the arm contours and smoothed to create a more toned and youthful appearance. The incisions are then closed with sutures, surgical adhesive, or skin staples.
  6. Dressing and Compression Garments: Following the procedure, the incision sites are covered with sterile dressings, and patients may be instructed to wear compression garments or elastic bandages over the arms. These garments help minimize swelling, support the tissues, and promote optimal healing.
  7. Drain Placement (Optional): In some cases, surgical drains may be placed under the skin near the incision sites to remove excess fluid and prevent fluid buildup during the initial stages of healing. These drains are typically removed within a few days after surgery.
  8. Follow-Up Care: After the procedure, patients will be provided with detailed post-operative instructions by their surgeon. It’s essential to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and optimal results. Patients may also be scheduled for follow-up appointments to monitor their progress and address any concerns.
Overall, arm lift surgery can provide significant improvements in arm contour and overall body confidence. However, it’s essential for patients to understand the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure and to undergo a thorough evaluation and consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine their candidacy and discuss their goals and expectations.

Recovery Timeline Following an Arm Lift

The recovery timeline following an arm lift (brachioplasty) can vary from patient to patient depending on factors such as the extent of the procedure, individual healing characteristics, and adherence to post-operative care instructions. While every patient’s experience may differ, here is a general overview of the typical recovery timeline following an arm lift:
  1. Immediate Post-Operative Period (Day 1-2):
    • Patients may experience grogginess and discomfort as the effects of anesthesia wear off.
    • Pain and discomfort in the arms are common and can be managed with prescribed pain medication.
    • Swelling, bruising, and temporary numbness in the arms are expected.
    • Patients are encouraged to keep their arms elevated and avoid any strenuous activities or heavy lifting.
  2. First Week:
    • Swelling and bruising typically peak within the first few days after surgery and gradually begin to improve.
    • Patients should follow all post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon, including wound care, medication management, and activity restrictions.
    • It’s important to avoid lifting heavy objects or performing any activities that strain the arms during this time.
    • Patients may need assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and preparing meals.
  3. First Month:
    • Most patients return to light activities and sedentary work within 1-2 weeks after surgery, depending on individual recovery progress.
    • Swelling continues to subside gradually, and patients may begin to see initial improvements in arm contour.
    • Compression garments or elastic bandages may be worn as directed by the surgeon to minimize swelling and support the tissues during healing.
    • Follow-up appointments with the surgeon may be scheduled to monitor healing progress and remove any surgical drains, if placed.
  4. First Few Months:
    • Swelling may persist for several weeks to months after surgery, gradually resolving over time.
    • Patients may gradually resume more strenuous activities and exercise routines as tolerated, following the guidance of their surgeon.
    • Scar healing and maturation continue during this time, and scar management techniques may be recommended to optimize scar appearance.
    • Final results become more apparent as swelling resolves, and the arms take on a smoother, more contoured appearance.
  5. Long-Term (6 Months and Beyond):
    • By around six months post-surgery, most of the swelling has subsided, and patients can enjoy the full benefits of their arm lift results.
    • Scars continue to fade and flatten over time, although they may remain visible.
    • Patients should continue to attend follow-up appointments with their surgeon as recommended to monitor progress and address any concerns.
    • The final outcome of the arm lift surgery becomes more evident, and patients can enjoy their improved arm contour and enhanced body confidence.
It’s important for patients to follow all post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon, attend follow-up appointments, and communicate any concerns or questions throughout the recovery process. By adhering to these guidelines and allowing ample time for healing, patients can optimize their arm lift results and enjoy a smoother, more contoured arm appearance over the long term.

Maintaining Results

Maintaining the results of an arm lift (brachioplasty) surgery requires ongoing self-care, healthy lifestyle habits, and periodic follow-up with your plastic surgeon. Here are some tips to help you maintain the results of your arm lift over the long term:
  1. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Follow a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-fat foods, as they can contribute to weight gain and compromise the results of your arm lift.
  2. Stay Active: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, including cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Exercise helps to maintain muscle tone, boost metabolism, and prevent fat accumulation in the arms and other areas of the body.
  3. Avoid Significant Weight Fluctuations: Aim to maintain a stable weight within a healthy range to prevent fluctuations that could affect the results of your arm lift. Significant weight gain or loss can cause fat cells to expand or shrink unevenly, compromising the outcome of the procedure.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support overall health. Adequate hydration can also help flush toxins from the body and improve skin elasticity.
  5. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, consider quitting or avoiding smoking altogether. Smoking can impair healing, decrease blood flow to the skin, and increase the risk of complications after surgery.
  6. Wear Sunscreen: Protect your skin from sun damage by applying sunscreen with a high SPF regularly, especially to the arms. Sun exposure can cause skin discoloration and compromise the appearance of scars.
  7. Follow Post-Operative Instructions: Adhere to all post-operative instructions provided by your plastic surgeon, including wearing compression garments, attending follow-up appointments, and avoiding strenuous activities during the initial recovery period.
  8. Monitor Your Body: Pay attention to changes in your arm contour and overall body shape. If you notice significant weight gain, asymmetry, or changes in the appearance of the treated area, consult with your surgeon for evaluation and guidance.
  9. Attend Follow-Up Appointments: Schedule and attend all follow-up appointments with your plastic surgeon as recommended. These appointments allow your surgeon to monitor your progress, assess healing, and address any concerns you may have.
  10. Practice Self-Care: Take care of your physical and emotional well-being by practicing self-care techniques such as stress management, adequate sleep, and mindfulness activities. A positive mindset and self-confidence can enhance your overall satisfaction with your arm lift results.
By incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy routine, you can help optimize and prolong the results of your arm lift surgery. Remember that individual results may vary, and it’s essential to consult with your plastic surgeon for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Possible Complications

By incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy routine, you can help optimize and prolong the results of your arm lift surgery. Remember that individual results may vary, and it’s essential to consult with your plastic surgeon for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances. While arm lift (brachioplasty) surgery is generally considered safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, like any surgical procedure, it carries the risk of potential complications. It’s essential for patients to be aware of these risks and discuss them with their surgeon before undergoing surgery. Possible complications of arm lift surgery may include:
  1. Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after surgery is a potential complication of arm lift surgery. In some cases, blood transfusions or surgical intervention may be necessary to control bleeding.
  2. Infection: Infection at the surgical site is a risk following arm lift surgery. Symptoms of infection may include redness, warmth, swelling, pain, and discharge from the incision sites. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat or prevent infection, but in severe cases, additional treatment may be necessary.
  3. Seroma Formation: Seromas are pockets of fluid that can accumulate under the skin in the surgical area. While some fluid buildup is normal after surgery, excessive accumulation may require drainage through needle aspiration or surgical intervention.
  4. Delayed Healing: Some patients may experience delayed wound healing or wound separation after arm lift surgery, particularly in areas with poor blood supply or tension on the incisions. Proper wound care and monitoring are essential to prevent complications and promote healing.
  5. Changes in Sensation: Temporary or permanent changes in sensation, including numbness, tingling, or hypersensitivity, may occur in the arms after surgery. Most sensory changes improve over time, but some patients may experience long-lasting or permanent alterations in sensation.
  6. Skin Necrosis: In rare cases, poor blood supply to the skin may lead to skin necrosis, or tissue death, in the arm area. Smokers and patients with certain medical conditions may be at higher risk for this complication.
  7. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE): Blood clots can form in the deep veins of the arms (DVT) and travel to the lungs (PE), causing potentially life-threatening complications. Measures such as early ambulation, compression garments, and blood thinners may be used to reduce the risk of blood clots.
  8. Unsatisfactory Results: Despite the surgeon’s best efforts, some patients may be dissatisfied with the results of arm lift surgery. It’s essential to have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the procedure and communicate openly with the surgeon about goals and concerns.
  9. Anesthesia Risks: General anesthesia carries inherent risks, including allergic reactions, respiratory complications, and adverse reactions to medications. Patients should discuss their medical history and any concerns with their anesthesiologist before surgery.
  10. Scarring: While efforts are made to minimize scarring, arm lift surgery does result in permanent scars. The appearance of scars may vary depending on factors such as skin type, genetics, and post-operative care.
It’s important for patients considering arm lift surgery to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in the procedure and to undergo a thorough evaluation to assess their candidacy and discuss potential risks and complications. By understanding and addressing these potential complications, patients can make informed decisions and minimize the risk of adverse outcomes from arm lift surgery.

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