Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

What is a brachioplasty?

A brachioplasty, or arm lift, is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms. Generally, the removal of fat is secondary to the removal of skin. If there is a large amount of fat present it is better to have liposuction first and then a brachioplasty to remove the loose skin.

Why do people get a brachioplasty?

An arm lift is an increasingly popular plastic surgery procedure. For many men and women it is extremely bothersome to have saggy arms and they often must avoid wearing certain tops, like tank tops, because of their loose skin. There are several reasons that people seek an arm lift. Here are some of the more common reasons.

  • Following significant weight loss, the skin is stretched and it is impossible to regain the firmness and tone that you originally had.
  • With age it is common for the skin to become lax causing the upper arms to look flaccid or flabby.
  • Excessive tanning combined with aging can increase the need for a brachioplasty.

Am I a candidate for a brachioplasty?

It is important to investigate whether or not you are a surgery candidate before you start to plan for surgery. Although one should come in for a consultation to determine whether or not surgery is an option, here are a few of the reasons why potential patients are typically turned away from our office:

  • Dr. McClellan does not perform any elective, cosmetic procedure on smokers. This is for a variety of reasons including poor wound healing and an increased risk of infection.
  • If there is an exceptional amount of fat to be removed, Dr. McClellan will suggest starting with liposuction rather than a brachioplasty so that your results will be optimal.
  • It is important to have realistic goals. Dr. McClellan makes every effort to ensure that he explains what results you can expect.

What are the potential risks?

Although Dr. McClellan and his surgery team take every measure to minimize the potential for risks, it is important to consider them. Although these problems rarely arise, here are some of the more common risks, or complications, that are possible:

  • Infection
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Asymmetry
  • Blood clots

How is a brachioplasty performed?

A brachioplasty is performed at Monongalia General Hospital under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure (you will return home the same day as surgery). An arm lift is performed by making an incision beginning at the axilla, or arm pit, and extending down to the elbow. This is the preferable method if some liposuction will also be performed. Once the incision has been made excess skin and fat may be removed and the upper arm can be reshaped. After the desired shape and changes have been made the incision is closed and sutured. Drains will be placed in order to ensure that there is no fluid build-up which will impede healing.

What can I expect for recovery?

We will see you in our office the day after surgery for your post-operative visit. You will be provided a compression garment to wear on your arms to help reduce swelling. Additionally, you will be asked to keep your arms elevated as much as possible to again reduce swelling. Drains will be removed 7 to 10 days following surgery. Any strenuous upper arm activity is restricted for at least 6 weeks. Each patient heals at an individual rate. As Dr. McClellan sees you in our clinic, for follow-up visits, he will be able to answer specific questions about what activities you may engage in and what you should avoid.

What can I expect for my initial consultation?

For a brachioplasty consultation you should allow at least 30 minutes in our office. You may come to the office around 15 minutes early to complete our new patient forms. During your consultation, Dr. McClellan will do a physical examination, explain the procedure, and answer any questions that you may have. It is often helpful for you to have a list of questions that you would like to have answered so that you may ask all the questions that you would like.

After you meet with Dr. McClellan you will be escorted to Becky Miller’s office. She is our patient coordinator and will provide you with a quote for the procedure as well as give you information about what financing options are available. As patient coordinator, Becky makes every effort to ensure that you are ready and feel comfortable prior to your surgery. She is available every business day to answer any questions that you may have after your initial consultation.

Contact our office for more information.

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