An arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is an effective solution for loose, excess skin and fat that hangs from the arm. Patients with unwanted tissue extending from the underside of their arms can find themselves disinclined to wear sleeveless clothing, but can also have trouble finding sleeves that fit comfortably and may find movement difficult. For those who have undergone significant weight loss, their success often comes with the onset of loose excess skin. However, aging and genetics can also lead patients to find that their arms are far from their former or ideal shape. Luckily, an arm lift procedure is a highly customizable surgery that can provide a smooth, shapely appearance for the arms when diet and exercise fail.
Don’t let your arms hold you back! At Esthetica Center for Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Wael Kouli helps his patients achieve the contours they desire to help them look and feel their very best. To learn more about your brachioplasty, schedule a personal consultation online or by calling (949) 721-1113.
Before and After Photos
Having excess skin and fat between the armpit and elbow can be a frustrating experience. Apart from making one reluctant to raise their arms, this area is notoriously hard to tone. The deposits of fat can be stubborn, and no matter how much you exercise, it won’t improve excess skin. But for those with more extreme cases, this condition is more than frustrating: it can be painful and lead to dangerous complications. It’s common for patients that have undergone massive weight loss to experience extra skin under their arms. And unfortunately, with this condition comes symptoms that include:
- Skin inflammation
- Skin infections
- Limited mobility
- Psychological distress
Our arms are highly visible body parts that we need to accomplish nearly all of our daily tasks. That’s why arm lifts are often the first procedure that doctors choose to perform on patients struggling with excess skin. (1) And, they are one of the most commonly performed body contouring surgeries. Whether you’re embarking on the final phase of your weight loss journey or just ready to achieve flattering contours for frustrating arms, an arm lift is an effective and permanent solution.
Benefits of Brachioplasty
Arm lifts have been performed since 1930, and the goal remains the same. These procedures reduce and tighten sagging skin, and can also eliminate excess fat in the upper arm. However, surgeons are now able to perform a wider variety of arm lifts that can be customized to best suit a patient’s needs. In fact, since 1977, surgeons have developed over 20 new techniques for performing this procedure! (2)
The traditional, and most commonly performed arm lift is a full upper arm reduction. This approach removes an elliptical piece of tissue from the underside of the arm, from the elbow to just before the armpit. When the incisions are closed, patients are left with a leaner, contoured arm. Any visible scarring is concealed on the underside of the patient’s arm.
For those with more extensive fatty tissue, Dr. Kouli may be able to combine the procedure with arm liposuction. This allows him to remove additional fat, and sculpt natural-looking contours that accentuate the patient’s upper arm anatomy.
Ideal candidates for an arm lift are in good health, and are proactive about maintaining it!
They should also be at, and able to maintain their ideal weight. This surgery is not recommended for those who experience extreme weight fluctuations or have other underlying health conditions. An arm lift is a surgical procedure, so those considering a brachioplasty should also be ready to commit to a responsible recovery, and able to take the necessary time off to heal. Dr. Kouli is an extremely accomplished surgeon who practices meticulous suturing techniques for the best aesthetic outcome. However, because of the technique used to reduce the size of the arm, patients should be willing to accept the possibility of slight scarring on the underside of their arms.
A recent study of arm lift patients found that those who smoked experienced more complications during and after their surgery. Dr. Kouli advises that arm lift patients avoid smoking for at least 1 month before surgery and for the duration of their recovery.
Your personal consultation will take place at Esthetica’s offices in Newport Beach, or as a virtual meeting that will take place from the comfort of your own home. During your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Kouli, you will be given the opportunity to discuss your concerns and to go over your desired results. Photos always help, so if you have them please bring them in! Once Dr. Kouli understands what brought you in, he will do an exam of the area in question to determine if you are a suitable candidate. Dr. Kouli will then go over the procedure in detail with you to ensure he answers all of your questions regarding the surgery itself and your recovery. After you and Dr. Kouli have gone over the procedure, you will meet with your Patient Care Coordinator who will go over the financial aspect of the procedure with you. She will be your point of contact from that point on so you will have one person to go to for any and all questions.
As you anticipate the date of your arm lift, it’s important to prepare yourself for the procedure and your recovery period. Arm lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure.
Before your brachioplasty, you’ll be instructed to:
- Stop smoking
- Get surgical clearance from a physician and any necessary lab testing
- Stop taking blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory medications including aspirin, herbal supplements, and others as directed by Dr. Kouli
- Arrange for a responsible friend or family member to drive you to and from the surgical facility and care for you immediately following your procedure
Dr. Kouli performs his surgical procedures at a state-of-the-art, accredited outpatient surgical center. After you’ve been admitted, you’ll have the chance to review the details of your procedure, and Dr. Kouli will make the necessary marking on your arm to guide the incisions. Once your anesthesia has been administered and taken effect, your procedure will begin.
If Dr. Kouli has recommended liposuction as part of your treatment, he’ll begin by injecting a tumescent fluid to ease fat extraction, and then suction away unwanted fat. Once the fat is removed, he’ll make the necessary incisions, being careful to excise the necessary skin to accentuate the new, slender shape of your upper arms.
For patients that are best suited to other arm lift approaches, Dr. Kouli will make incisions that follow the natural contours of the patient’s underlying bone and muscle structure. Arm lift surgery requires fastidious techniques and advanced anatomical knowledge, as the upper arm is home to lymph nodes, arteries, and important nerve endings. Dr. Kouli will review the details and incision patterns used for your arm lift procedure during your personal consultation. After the tissue on each arm has been adjusted, Dr. Kouli will carefully suture the incisions closed. Once the arms have been dressed with bandages and compression garments, the patient is moved to a recovery room to allow the anesthesia to wear off. Once conscious and stable, they are able to return home to begin the healing process.
It’s important to have someone stay with you at least one night after your surgery to care for you, as you’ll still be recovering from the effects of the anesthesia. Dr. Kouli and his staff will give you detailed instructions regarding post-operative care and your progress will be monitored during a follow-up appointment to ensure that you are healing nicely.
You’ll be given an antibiotic and prescription pain medication to manage the discomfort. The compression garments will help ease the swelling and ensure proper circulation, but keeping your arms elevated with pillows is also recommended to improve swelling in the first few days of your recovery. Make sure you have a restful, comfortable place to recover with all essentials close at hand: you’ll need to avoid any unnecessary reaching. You’ll be able to resume most activity within a few weeks of your surgery, but please refrain from any strenuous activity for at least a month.
The cost of an arm lift will depend on the condition of your arms, and the details of your surgical treatment plan. The best way to get an idea of what this procedure costs is to schedule a personal consultation, during which you’ll be given an accurate estimate. Be sure to keep an eye on our specials page for exclusive offers!
- Di Pietro V, Colicchia GM, Cervelli V, Gentile P. Arm Contouring After Massive Weight Loss: Liposuction-Assisted Brachioplasty Versus Standard Technique. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2018;11(2):73-78. doi:10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_102_17
- Sisti A, Cuomo R, Milonia L, et al. Complications associated with brachioplasty: a literature review. Acta Bio Medica : Atenei Parmensis. 2017;88(4):393-402. doi:10.23750/abm.v88i4.5609