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Armlift (brachioplasty) is a surgical procedure performed to tighten the arms due to laxity from aging or significant weight loss. armlift involves removal of excessive, hanging skin (and underlying fat, if necessary) through a long vertical incision on the inner aspects of the arm. Although the scar is concealed with the arms down, it is visible with the arm raised.
Dr. Friedman performs armlift under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The procedure is performed in his AAAASF-accredited surgical facility, the West Plano Plastic Surgery Center, which is located on the campus of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. He strictly uses physicians—not nurses or technicians—to administer your anesthesia.
Pain is usually moderate and well-controlled with prescription pain medication. Most patients return to light activities within 3 to 5 days. To reduce swelling, an arm compression garment is worn for the first 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. All stitches are internal; there are no stitches or staples to remove. Heavy straining should be avoided for about 4 weeks. Improvement in arm laxity is generally apparent immediately after surgery, but final results may take 12 months.
When you visit our office, Dr. Friedman will discuss your particular problems and concerns. He will give you a realistic expectation of what you can expect from surgery. We will also show you "before and after" photos of armlifts performed by Dr. Friedman. If you wish to speak to other patients who have undergone this surgery, we will be happy to provide phone numbers.Back To Top
Liposuction of the arms is useful for patients with a limited amount of excess fat of the arms that is unresponsive to dieting and exercise. Liposuction is most successful in patients with reasonably good skin tone. armlift is useful for patients with a large amount of excess skin with or without some excess fat.
The best thing about armlift is the removal of hanging skin (which some people refer to as “bat wings”). This makes the arms slimmer, more attractive in shape, and allows more clothing options.
The worst thing about armlift is the scars, which extend on the inner arms from the armpits to the elbows. These are reasonably concealed with the arms down and do fade significantly with time. But they are clearly a significant trade-off.
Wait. It is best to be within about 10 to 20 pounds of your planned long-term weight prior to armlift. The more weight you lose prior to surgery, the more skin excess Dr. Friedman can remove during surgery. Major weight loss after armlift surgery may cause some recurrent skin excess. If you maintain a stable weight after surgery, your results will generally be long lasting.
Dr. Friedman generally places arm compression sleeves after surgery. These are worn for at least 2 weeks continuously after surgery, helping to reduce swelling and maintain your contour. He generally does not use drains for armlift.
One week before surgery
The evening before surgery
Day of surgery: before you leave home
Day of surgery: at the facility before surgery
Day of surgery: at the facility after surgery
At home after surgery
Instructions for your first postoperative visit (about 3 days after surgery)
1 week after surgery: you may resume casual walking but must not engage in vigorous exercise that increases your blood pressure or heart rate. You may resume driving once you are off of your pain medication. Avoid freeways until you are comfortable with city driving.
4 weeks after surgery: you may gradually resume light exercise activity (if permitted by Dr. Friedman). You should wear your compression garment during any exercise. You may not perform arm exercises for 6 weeks.
Please sleep on your back (with your head elevated and a pillow under your knees) or part way over (pillow under your shoulder and hip). Do not sleep on your side or stomach until about 3 weeks after surgery.
You have a layer of tissue glue to seal your incision. After this peels off (about 2 weeks after surgery), begin scar massage with Mederma twice daily. Mederma is available at our front desk or over-the-counter at your pharmacy. If you prefer, you may use Vitamin E or Aloe Vera. Continue scar massage for about 3 months.
You should begin massage to the suctioned one week after surgery. This will help smooth any irregularities and areas of firmness. You may apply lotion to your hand to massage and/or you may use a vibrating massager. If you would like, we will provide you the phone number of a licensed massage therapist.
You may shower daily after your first postoperative appointment. You should avoid scrubbing your incisions. Avoid the pool, lake, and ocean for 4 weeks.
One week after surgery, you may resume use of any medications or supplements that you discontinued prior to surgery. However, for at least 3 weeks, you should avoid Motrin, aspirin, and any other product that may thin your blood.
Do not smoke for at least one month (and preferably much longer) after surgery. Smoking may increase your risk of infection, lung problems following anesthesia, and wound healing problems.
You may tan whenever you like. However, you should use a high-SPF sunscreen (30 or greater) over your incisions for at least 6 months. Premature tanning of the incisions may cause them to darken permanently.
You may resume intercourse about 3 weeks after surgery.
Wear the compression garment all day and all night (except for showers and massage) during the first 4 weeks. Wear the garment on a tapering basis for the next 4 weeks.
Please feel free to ask Dr. Friedman or his staff about any additional questions or concerns.Back To Top