Arm Lift Plastic Surgery – The Ultimate Guide On Upper Arm Lifts

upper arm lift plastic surgeryYou have 4 options here if you want to surgically change the way your arms look:

  • A traditional arm lift
  • An extended arm lift
  • A minimal incision arm lift
  • An arm liposuction (different from an arm lift)

The Traditional Arm Lift

This specific procedure is indicated for women that have lost a very large quantity of weight, usually more than 100 lbs., and have residual skin sag.

It can also be indicated after an arm liposuction if the patient is left with a large amount of loose skin.

Unfortunately, this a major drawback that accompanies the liposuction procedure.

The Specific Procedure

  • Your arms will be marked where the tissue is to be removed
  • General anesthesia will be administered
  • Both limbs will be secured on tables or boards
  • The surgeon will make an incision that goes from your arm pit (axilla) all the way down to your elbow
  • All excess arm skin will be secured with clamps and then excised
  • Stitches are applied to the incision which is subsequently covered in bandages

This procedure takes about 1-2 hours on average depending on the amount of tissue that has to be removed. You don’t have to spend the night at the hospital and you can resume normal functioning after 4-6 weeks.

Traditional arm lift scars

Traditional arm lift scars

The Cost

The expense for this procedure should be in the mid range of $5,000 to $7,000 depending on where your surgeon is located.

Primary Issues

  • A visible scar will run from your elbow to your axilla (arm pit)
  • Because of healing variability, it’s not possible to predict how the final scar will look
  • Mild numbness can become an issue, but is usually not permanent
  • If you have a high BMI (35 or above) you will need an arm liposuction beforehand
  • There is no guarantee that the loose skin won’t come back

The bottom line is that you have to decide which is worse: having too much arm skin or a scar.

The Extended Arm Lift

This specific procedure is indicated for women that have lost a very large quantity of weight, usually more than 100 lbs., and have residual skin sag that extends all the way down to the lateral upper chest.

Unfortunately, a traditional arm lift is not sufficient to remove all the skin for a desirable look.

The Specific Procedure

  • Your arms and lateral upper chest will be marked where the tissue is to be removed
  • General anesthesia will be administered
  • Both limbs will be secured on tables or boards
  • The surgeon will make an incision that goes from your arm pit (axilla) all the way down to your lateral upper chest
  • All excess arm skin will be excised
  • Stitches are applied to the long incision which is subsequently covered with tissue glue and bandages

Similar to the traditional arm lift, this procedure takes about 1-2 hours on average depending on the amount of tissue that has to be removed. You don’t have to spend the night at the hospital and you can resume normal functioning after 4-6 weeks.

Extended arm lift scars

Extended arm lift scars

The Cost

The expense for this procedure should be in the high range of $5,000 to $7,000 depending on where your surgeon is located.

Primary Issues

  • A visible scar will run from your elbow to your lateral upper chest
  • Because of healing variability, it’s not possible to predict how the final scar will look
  • Mild numbness can become an issue, but is usually not permanent
  • If you have a high BMI (35 or above) you will need an arm liposuction beforehand
  • There can be residual skin that runs from your lateral lower chest to your abdominal region
  • There is no guarantee that the loose skin won’t come back

Just like the traditional arm lift, you have to decide which is worse: having too much arm and upper chest skin or a long scar.

The Minimal Incision Arm Lift

This procedure is indicated for women that are fit, but want tighter arm skin.

The Specific Procedure

  • Your upper arm pit will be marked where excess skin is to be removed
  • General anesthesia will be administered
  • Both limbs will be secured on tables or boards
  • The surgeon will make an incision on your upper axilla (arm pit)
  • All excess skin on your upper axilla will be excised and skin from the upper area of your arm will be pulled down, thereby increasing tightness
  • Stitches are applied to the incision which is subsequently covered with tissue glue and/or taped pads

This procedure takes about 1 hour on average depending on the amount of skin that has to be removed. You don’t have to spend the night at the hospital and you can resume normal functioning with your arms after 4-6 weeks.

Minimal incision arm lift scars

Minimal incision arm lift scars

The Cost

The expense for this procedure should be in the low range of $5,000 to $7,000 depending on where your surgeon is located.

Primary Issues

  • A visible scar is left on your axilla
  • Although it fades with time, the scar will look pleated
  • If you raise your arms, the scar will be somewhat visible
  • This procedure is not effective in women with large amounts of loose skin
  • The tightened skin can become loose again

The Arm Liposuction (Not The Same As An Arm Lift)

This procedure is indicated for women that have tight arm skin, but want excess arm fat removed. Once fat is removed the arm skin can become loose and saggy, however.

This procedure is not indicated for women that have loose arm skin.

The Specific Procedure

  • General anesthesia will be administered
  • Both limbs will be secured on tables or boards
  • The surgeon will make incisions close to your elbow and arm pit
  • An aqueous fat-firming solution will be injected into your arms
  • A rod (cannula) will suck out the mixture of solution and arm fat
  • All incisions will be covered with stitches and bandages

This procedure takes a couple of hours. You don’t have to spend the night at the hospital and you can resume normal functioning with your arms after 1 week once the stitches are removed.

arm liposuction scars

Arm liposuction scars

The Cost

The expense for this procedure should be in between $3,000 to $5,000 depending on where your surgeon is located.

Primary Issues

  • Arm skin can become loose and saggy once the fat is removed
  • The only way to tighten the skin is with an arm lift that leaves you with scars
  • The arm fat can come back if a proper exercise and diet plan is not in place

What You Need To Know About Costs

The prices in this guide reflect all the standard fees associated with the different arm lift procedures. However, a significant number of plastic surgeons do not disclose all fees unless you are persistent.

So make sure your estimate includes the total cost of your arm lift - facilities, surgical fees, hospital fees, anesthesiologist fees – before you make the decision to move forward.

To Have An Arm Lift Or Not To Have An Arm Lift?

Although the final decision is yours, I recommend always trying exercise and diet first before having an irreversible surgery.

And I absolutely don’t recommend having a liposuction to get rid of arm fat. You will be better off getting rid of your arm fat with the right fitness program.

Don’t forget that a liposuction can leave you with loose skin that can ONLY be removed with an arm lift.

On the other hand, if you have lost a massive amount of weight – more than 100 pounds – an arm lift makes more sense here. Just keep in mind that you can always try a targeted exercise program to firm up your loose skin before you spend thousands of dollars on this procedure.

A procedure that will leave you with scars…

Either way, I wish you the best of luck!

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Below is an older, outdated, version of this article. I decided to include it, however, because it still has some useful and informative insights.

Arm Lift Plastic Surgery – The Ultimate Guide On Upper Arm Lifts (OLD VERSION)

Obesity rates are on the rise and they show no sign of stopping any time soon. As a result, record numbers of women are seeking arm surgery or brachioplasty.

But there is a catch

After the surgery, you can be left with unsightly amounts of excess arm tissue, including skin. Thus, the arm lift has been gaining an increasing amount of popularity-even among women who haven’t lost massive amounts of weight, but want smaller arms.

And the plastic surgeons are ready to fill this modern demand. But before you decide to go under the knife, please consider the following:

1. Cost: The average amount you can expect to pay for a typical arm lift is $4,000. This number can go up or down depending on the location and experience of the surgeon. Unfortunately, since arm lifts are cosmetic procedures, most insurance companies won’t cover them.

Now you could jump on the medical tourism bandwagon and travel to another country for the procedure, but getting quality care offshore could be hit or miss. And do you really want to put yourself at risk for a botched arm lift?

2. Ulnar nerve damage: Now this only happens in about 5% of patients-a very low number. However, 5% is still 5%. And you should definitely take this into account before moving forward with the procedure.

You see, once a nerve is damaged, you could lose sensation and mobility in your arm and/or hand.

3. Length of procedure: An arm lift is not an “in and out” surgery. In fact, the average arm lift lasts about 2. 5 hours. This number can go up depending on how much tissue needs to be removed.

4. Seromas: These are pockets of clear fluid that develop along the lines of incision. They are clear because they do not contain red blood cells, the cells that carry oxygen through your blood. The good news is that seromas are relatively easy to treat.

Nonetheless, one study showed that more than 1/3 of patients develop seromas.

5. Adding a liposuction increases complication rates: Many women undergoing an arm lift also need a liposuction for the best results. Unfortunately, when an arm lift and liposuction are combined, the percentage of complications increase.

By the way, an arm lift involves the removal of skin and some superficial tissue, while a liposuction involves the extraction of fatty tissue with metallic “sucking” rods.

One way around this is to simply burn off as much fat as possible with diet and exercise before the procedure so that you don’t need the liposuction.

6. Acute anemia: This is one of the most common complications and involves feeling fatigued and weak. And while not serious, it’s still a nuisance.

Just in case you didn’t know, anemia is a condition when red blood cell counts go down and by extension, levels of oxygen. And oxygen is needed to produce energy in your body.

7. The need for more procedures: Quite often, just an arm lift will NOT leave a woman with an acceptable appearance. Many women find that excess fat and skin needs to be removed from the pectoral (chest) and axilla (arm pit) areas as well. And the stacking of additional procedures on top of the arm lift increases the risk for complications.

Now I realize that this article is very one-sided and sounds quite negative. Well, the truth is that arm lift procedures have come a long way and are safer than ever. Nevertheless, you need to be aware of the potential risks involved.

After all, no one is going to look out for your health as much as you will.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

beauty

I had a arm lift 12 days ago. I still have the steristrips on and the ace wraps. I have alot of burning on and off in my armpits. It is also very tender to touch distal to the area that had surgery. The scars that I can see seems very thick. I hope this goes down alot. I still have the drains in both arms. I’m hoping they come out when I go to the dr this wed.

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Sleeveless in 7!

Hi Beauty,

The scars will definitely decrease in size. I wish you the best of luck and keep us posted on how things turn out!

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