Brachioplasty, more commonly known as an Arm Lift, has skyrocketed in popularity since the year 2000. Some guess this increase might be due to the popularity of Michelle Obama and her toned, much-coveted upper arms. Others connect the dots between the dramatic amount of weight that Americans are losing and the excess skin that comes with it.
What is Brachioplasty or an arm lift?
An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that:
- Reduces excess sagging skin that droops downward
- Tightens and smoothes the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm
- Reduces localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region
Fluctuations in weight, growing older, and heredity can cause your upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. This is a condition that cannot be corrected through exercise. Arm lift surgery may be right for you if the underside of your upper arms are sagging or appear loose and full due to excess skin and fat.
Arm lift cost
The average cost of an arm lift is $3,936, according to 2014 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Arm lift surgery costs can vary widely. The average fee referenced above does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses. Most health insurance does not cover arm lift surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
Arm lift surgery costs may include:
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Medical tests
- Post-surgery garments
- Prescriptions for medication
- Surgeon’s fee
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in Pittsburgh, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
Arm lift candidates
In general, arm lift candidates include:
- Adults with significant upper arm skin laxity
- Adults of any age whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight
- Healthy individuals without medical conditions that impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- Non-smokers Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations
Arm lift Procedure
Incision length and pattern during arm lift surgery depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as the best judgment of your plastic surgeon. Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, depending on the surgeon’s preference, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. Excess fat may be directly excised or treated with liposuction. Depending on your specific condition, incisions may be more limited. Then, underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm.
Your incisions will be closed either with absorbable sutures, or stitches that will be removed within one to two weeks following your arm lift. The smoother, tighter contours that result from brachioplasty are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although there will likely be swelling and bruising.
It’s important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.