There are a number of exercise and weight training routines that target the upper arms. These allow patients to reduce upper arm fat and improve muscle tone. However, as muscle tone increases and fat decreases, patients may be left with excess skin on the upper arms. Unfortunately, diet and exercise are simply not capable of reducing loose and excess skin on the upper arms. When sagging upper arm skin becomes a problem, Bay Area Plastic Surgeon John Griffin can perform arm lift surgery. Whether the problem is caused by aging, heredity, or weight gain, the arm lift procedure can permanently remove this skin.
Arm Lift Candidates
Adults with flabby upper arms (with or without excess fat) and stable weight are the most suitable candidates for an arm lift procedure. Patients should not be severely overweight; Dr. Griffin recommends that patients reach their weight loss goals prior to undergoing arm lift surgery.
Patients should also be non-smokers and in good health.
Arm Lift Techniques
There are several techniques that are available to contour the arms. Upon examining the arms and discussing the patient’s goals, Dr. Griffin will recommend the approach that will achieve the best post-operative result.
- Liposuction: The liposuction procedure removes fat from the upper arm. It does not remove excess skin. However, for patients with good skin elasticity and excess upper arm fat, liposuction may be all that is needed to tone the arms.
- Limited incision: This technique involves the use of a small incision in the armpit; depending on the amount of excess skin, the incision may extend about halfway down the back of the upper arm.
- Extended incision: This technique uses a longer incision, which runs from the armpit all the way down to the elbow.
Arm Lift Procedure Steps
Dr. Griffin will perform either a limited or an extended arm lift depending upon the patient’s particular needs. These techniques involve the following steps:
- The placement of the incision is marked with a surgical pen
- Antibacterial solution is applied to the armpits and back of the arms
- The patient is put under anesthesia
- The incision is started in the armpit, and may run down the length of the arm to the elbow
- The skin and tissue of the upper arm are lifted away from the underlying muscle and pulled tight
- The excess skin and tissue are trimmed away
- Internal sutures are used to reattach the tightened skin and tissue
- Bandages are applied to protect the incision sites
Arm Lift Recovery
Bandage dressings are applied to the upper arms, and surgical drains may be placed to collect any excess blood or fluid. Dr. Griffin will provide patients with instructions on caring for the bandages and drains.
For the first few days after surgery, patients should rest. Keeping the head elevated while resting will encourage healing. Patients should also take brief, light walks in the first few days after surgery to improve circulation.
The patient will be given special compression arm bandages to wear to reduce swelling following the procedure; the compression devices should be worn for up to six weeks after surgery.
Arm Lift Side Effects
Side effects following an arm lift include bruising, swelling, discomfort, skin tightness, and numbness or itchiness of the incision area. These should begin to disappear about a week after surgery, though some side effects may last for a few months after surgery.
Arm Lift Risks
Many of the risks associated with an arm lift procedure, such as infection, bleeding, and poor wound healing are relatively rare. If a patient has an extended procedure, the scar may be more noticeable because of its length. Prior to surgery, Dr. Griffin will discuss possible risks with patients, and provide them with instructions to reduce the risk of complications.
Arm Lift Results
The results from an arm lift procedure should be visible within a few weeks following surgery, once the bruising and swelling starts to fade. As long as the patient maintains a stable weight, the results should be long lasting.
Arm Lift Consultations
To schedule an arm lift consultation, contact Dr. John Griffin.