During the aging process or after weight loss, the skin on your upper arms may start to sag. While this loss of elasticity is normal, it can create a “bat wing” appearance that many patients are self-conscious about. Arm skin removal, also called brachioplasty or arm lift surgery, may be helpful to correct this issue.
When You May Need Arm Skin Removal
Anyone who notices that the skin on their arms hangs down more than they would like could potentially benefit from arm lift surgery.
There are two main situations when this occurs:
Arm Sagging Due to Aging
As you age, your skin begins to lose two proteins: elastin and collagen. Together, these keep skin firm and elastic, so when they are diminished, sagging is common. This can affect many areas, including your arms. The process may also be sped up by excessive sun exposure, smoking, or other lifestyle and environmental factors.
Excess Skin After Weight Loss
Loose skin after weight loss can occur due to damage to elastin and collagen, which makes it harder for the skin to tighten again. This is most common for significant weight loss, typically 100 pounds or more. Body contouring surgery can be helpful and may include arm skin removal in addition to abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), thigh lift, and other procedures.
What to Expect From Brachioplasty
During an arm lift, your plastic surgeon will make an incision on the inside of your upper arms. We place this so it blends with your arm’s natural curves as much as possible. We then remove excess skin and fat and then close the incision. This results in a tighter, more youthful arm contour. In most cases, this is completed as outpatient surgery, but you should plan to have someone stay with you overnight to make sure the recovery process starts smoothly.
Recovery from Arm Lift Surgery
Recovery from any type of surgical procedure depends on a variety of factors. Most patients can expect to wait approximately 2 weeks before being able to drive and may be able to return to work around the same time for non-physical jobs. It could be a month or more before you can resume all day-to-day activities. Your surgeon will let you know what you should avoid and when these restrictions can be lifted. Following these instructions carefully can help minimize the appearance of scar tissue and is also important for your health.
Arm Lift Surgeons in Tucson, AZ
Dr. Hess and Dr. Sandeen are board-certified plastic surgeons in Tucson, AZ. Our clinic performs a variety of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, including arm skin removal. You can view before and after photos of this procedure in our online gallery. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure during your initial consultation.