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Brachioplasty, sometimes know as an arm lift, is a procedure used to remove excess skin from the upper arms and the lateral portion of the upper chest wall. The aim of the surgery is to reshape the contour of the upper arm, axilla or armpit and the chest wall (where necessary) so that no excess tissue is visible following the procedure. The scars from the operation are well hidden when the arms are by the side and patient satisfaction rates are high.
1.5 to 2 hours
Day case or overnight
You should see the final results of your arm lift in 6 months, but it can take 12 months for arm lift scars to fully fade.
How does arm lift surgery work?
Liposuction is used to remove any excess subcutaneous fat from the inner and posterior aspects of the upper arm to help achieve an ideal contour. The additional slack skin is then excised so that the skin is tightened and the shape of the arm becomes more youthful. To achieve the optimal results the incision usually needs to be carried into the axilla or armpit, so that the excess tissue here can also be removed (this helps to shape the upper part of the arm). This often has the added benefit of removing the armpit hair and sweat glands!
What do the scars look like?
The scar typically runs from the inside of the elbow to the inside of the armpit (upper part of the chest wall). It is placed in the groove between the biceps and the triceps muscles and so is well hidden.
How long does arm lift surgery take?
The surgery time varies depending on the amount of excess skin and subcutaneous fat to be removed. Typically the surgery time is 1.5 to two hours but in cases of massive weight loss it can take up to three hours to perform.
How long is the recovery process?
Typically, the incisions take two weeks to heal, though the areas in the armpit can sometimes take a little longer to heal completely. Your incisions will normally be sealed with surgical glue on top of the stitches so that the wound itself will be waterproof, and you should be able to take a shower after a couple of days. You can return to light activities (as pain permits) after one to two weeks. However, strenuous activities should be avoided for six weeks following the operation to allow sufficient time for incision wound strength to reach levels where wound dehiscence (splitting) is unlikely. Driving is usually safe by two weeks, but it is important that you feel you will be able to safely perform an emergency stop prior to getting back behind the wheel.
How long before I see the final results?
The change in the contour of the arm will be apparent immediately following the procedure however there will be residual swelling from the liposuction that will take nine months to disappear. The scar is likely to be red for nine to 12 months following the operation (the redness fades as the scar matures).
Have a question?
You’ve decided to have cosmetic surgery, you now need to choose a surgeon with the appropriate training, skills and experience to carry out your procedure.
Anthony is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in aesthetic surgery and registered with BAAPS, a specialist register of Plastic Surgeons maintained by the General Medical Council.
You’ve decided to have cosmetic surgery; you now need to choose a plastic surgeon with the appropriate training, skills and experience to carry out your procedure.
Anthony is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon, specialising in aesthetic surgery and registered with BAAPS and BAPRAS, the UK’s leading independent plastic surgery groups, maintained by the General Medical Council.
It is important to talk to your surgeon about what you want to change and why. We will give you straightforward and appropriate advice that you can trust.
Anthony is nationally acknowledged for providing outstanding medical care and achieving results which meet or exceed patients’ hopes and expectations.
We offer exceptional patient aftercare, for five years following your procedure, so you can be sure you have complete support as you embark on your journey to the new you.
Before & Afters
New device could help reduce scarring after cosmetic surgery
A new device has been developed to help minimise the scarring which often occurs as a result of cosmetic surgery.
Researchers from the Binghamton University, State University of New York, developed the device to test the skin tension orientation. It is thought to be much more accurate than any other devices currently available. So, what is this new device and how could it reduce scarring after cosmetic surgery?
Understanding the new single test device
The new device is considered one of the best and most efficient skin tension orientation measurement devices. It is a single-test device, which is said to take just a few seconds to use.
It measures the direction of the skin’s tension line in order to help surgeons determine where to make incisions. Although there are other single test devices already used by surgeons, they do typically only measure up to 45 degrees. This new device is capable of measuring the direction of skin tension without any guidelines, maps or directional restrictions. This ultimately makes it more reliable as well as more accurate to use.
The device has a way to go before it is released onto the market, but its initial testing has proven extremely promising.
Why does scarring occur after cosmetic surgery?
Scarring is a common issue for those who have undergone cosmetic surgery. It occurs due to injury caused during surgery, to the epidermis and/or the dermis of the skin. The epidermis is the skin’s top layer, and damage to that will lead to more superficial scarring which will heal quite quickly. The dermal layer is the deeper layer of skin, and if trauma occurs to this layer, the scarring will be a lot more noticeable, as well as potentially permanent.
The skin’s tension lines play an important role in the risk of scarring. Known as Langer’s lines, they indicate the orientation of the underlying collagen fibres. If the wound crosses the fibres, the wound tends to gape, and greater tension is required to close the wound.
Are there other ways to reduce scarring after cosmetic surgery?
There are certain things that patients can do to reduce the risk of scarring after cosmetic surgery. Eating a healthy diet, especially foods which are high in iron, vitamin C and zinc, can help the body to heal properly.
Those who smoke should also seriously consider quitting. Your plastic surgeon will advise you to stop smoking both before the surgery and for a time afterwards to aid with proper wound healing. Nicotine impacts how much oxygen is received by the wound, reducing it significantly which results in an increased risk of infection and incorrect healing.
Overall, this new device will prove useful for surgeons to minimise the risks of scarring. It will particularly benefit those undergoing procedures such as an arm lift, which is renowned for its scarring risks. For many patients, the risk of scarring is one of their main concerns. So, anything which reduces both the risk of developing a scar, as well as minimising the appearance of any scars which are unavoidable, will be a welcome addition to the cosmetic surgery market.