If you are unhappy with how your arms look, you are not alone. When you lose a significant amount of weight, it’s normal to have excess skin. Unfortunately, your arms are one of the areas that can be significantly affected by weight changes. Your skin can stretch during pregnancy, weight gain, or just natural growth. Skin can then struggle to shrink back. This can result in excess and sagging skin. An arm lift can remove excess skin and leave your arms tight and smooth. Let’s break down everything you need to know about an arm lift. 

What is an Arm Lift?

An arm lift is also known as an arm reduction or brachioplasty. The surgical procedure can banish ‘bingo wings’ and create shapelier arms. During the treatment, your surgeon will lift and tighten the upper arms to create a more contoured shape. 

Although you can improve the appearance of the upper arm and build a more defined look, the underarm skin often doesn’t respond to exercise and diet. Whether you have excess skin after weight loss, drooping skin from ageing or excess fat deposits, an arm lift can smooth, tighten, and define your arms. 

Arm Lift: Quick Overview

What Happens During Arm Lift Surgery?

The surgery takes up to two hours. Your surgeon will make an incision between the elbow and armpit and remove excess skin and fat. If more fat needs to be removed, your surgeon may use liposuction. The final stage involves tightening the skin and smoothing over the arm. The surgeon will then close the incisions and apply a sterile dressing. Your surgeon may attach drains to drain away any fluid or blood from the wound. 

Depending on the amount of skin and excess tissue removed, your scars may vary. There are different techniques for arm lift surgery. The techniques used are dependent on the scale of the operation. Ideally, your surgeon will use the technique that results in a shorter surgery and recovery time. 

Standard – this technique uses two incisions and is suitable for someone with a fair amount of excess skin and fat. There will be one incision from the elbow to the armpit. The second incision will be between the triceps and biceps. Your scar will be hidden when you’re arms are by your side. 

Limited-incision – this works best if you have loose skin in the lower inner arm but not too much fat. It uses a minimal incision in a crescent shape under the armpit. With this technique, your scar will be hidden under the armpit. 

Extended – this technique is similar to the standard technique but can include the area along the side of the chest. The incision extends from the elbow to the armpit and into the side of the chest. As you can imagine, this technique results in the maximum amount of scarring. Often, your surgeon will use either the limited incision or standard techniques to avoid lengthy scarring wherever possible. 

What are the Benefits of Arm Lift Surgery?

If you are at your target weight but left with excess underarm skin, it can really affect your confidence. Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do or eat, you can’t seem to improve the contours of your arms. Benefits of an arm lift include:

  • Tighter arms 
  • No more bingo wings
  • Wear sleeveless clothes with confidence 
  • Improve self-esteem 

How Long Does it Take to Recover?

At Harley Clinic, your surgeon will discuss your treatment and recovery plan with you. You will need a few weeks to recover fully and properly heal from your procedure. You will feel sore following your surgery. Start walking as soon as you can after your surgery but avoid strenuous movement. 

Don’t drive in the first 24 hours. Most people don’t drive until 10 days after surgery. If you work a desk job or something with minimal movement, you can return to work in a week. You may need a couple more weeks to recover for jobs that require a lot more movement. 

In about one to two weeks, you should be able to use your arms for household activities such as cooking and cleaning. Avoid physical activity and exercise until 6 weeks after the procedure.  

How to Prepare for an Arm Lift?

You need to prepare for any type of body contouring surgeries, including an arm lift. The best way to prepare for an arm lift is to be as healthy as possible. You should stop smoking several weeks before the procedure. In the week running up to your surgery, you should avoid waxing or shaving the area that will be cut. 

Who is a Suitable Candidate for an Arm Lift?

The ideal candidate for an arm lift is someone who is within 10% of their ideal weight. You have loose skin and good tissue elasticity. Women who have had extensive breast cancer surgery should avoid getting arm lift surgery. 

What are the Scars Like Following an Arm Lift?

Scars extend from the armpit to the elbow. Typically, scars are placed in areas that aren’t easily visible to other people. Because of the length of the scars, people who benefit most from this surgery are those who have extremely loose and sagging skin. 

When Do You See the Final Results of an Arm Lift?

After about 6 weeks, the swelling will start to subside. Over the next few months, you will start to see the final results of your arm lift. 

Is an Arm Lift Permanent?

The results of an arm lift are intended to be permanent. But, if your weight fluctuates, it can impact your results. 

Can You Combine an Arm Lift with Other Surgeries?

It’s common to combine cosmetic procedures so that patients have one recovery period. You can combine an arm lift with surgeries such as:

Is an Arm Lift Painful?

It’s common to experience some pain and discomfort following your surgery. This pain only lasts for a few days and is manageable with over-the-counter painkillers. 

Is there an Alternative to an Arm Lift?

Arm liposuction is an alternative to an arm lift. Patients with excess fat but relatively tight skin would likely benefit from arm liposuction over an arm lift. 

What are the Potential Risks, Side Effects, and Complications of an Arm Lift?

Like all cosmetic surgeries, some potential risks and complications can occur. With most surgeries, there are risks, such as:

  • Infection 
  • Bleeding 
  • Hematoma
  • Anaesthesia risks 
  • Skin and or fat/necrosis 
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Pain 
  • Swelling 
  • Poor wound healing
  • Poor scarring 
  • Nerve injury 
  • Contour irregularity
  • Seroma
  • Over/under correction
  • Asymmetry
  • Damage to other structures
  • DVT
  • PE
  • Chest infection

You don’t have to settle with excess arm skin and fat. If you struggle to improve your underarm appearance, an arm lift may be just what you need. 

To book a consultation today, please call 0203 582 4947 or email [email protected].