Arm lift, or medically referred to as brachioplasty, removes the excess skin caused by weight loss or age-induced soft tissue laxity. Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says the incision length and pattern will depend on how much tissue needs to be removed.
The short incision arm lift technique is reserved for patients whose excess skin is limited to the top of the upper arm, i.e., near the armpit, while the standard armpit-to-elbow incision is suitable for people who need the most amount of correction.
During a short incision technique, also referred to as mini arm lift, doctors create a crescent-shaped incision in the armpit area and so the resulting scar is completely concealed by the natural skin fold.
After removing the excess skin responsible for the appearance of “bat-wing arm,” the incision is closed in deeper layers to ensure that the skin receives no or very little tension, which in turn promotes the best scar possible and reduces the risk of wound healing problems.
Dr. Smiley says it is not uncommon to perform a concomitant liposuction to further achieve a smooth contour. The goal is to remove just the right amount of excess fat so the entire upper arm has no unusual fullness or bulge that detracts from the slender appearance.
Nonetheless, over-aggressive liposuction can “harm” the appearance of female arms. When too much fat is removed, surface irregularities and unnatural contour may ensue; these cosmetic problems are remarkably hard to correct during a revision surgery (fat grafting).
While a slender arm is the most sought after look, a slight convexity along the posterior surface of the “top of the arm bone” down to the elbow is ideal in order to preserve the appearance of a feminine arm.
Whether or not liposuction is performed, short incision arm lift generally takes two weeks of recovery. After this period, most patients can slowly resume their normal activities and may begin their scar management therapies, which may include silicone sheets, scar creams, and massage.