Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso – Brachioplasty Surgery

What Is Brachioplasty?

Brachioplasty surgery (also known as an arm lift) shapes and defines the upper arms. This can help individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight or would like to remove sagging, loose skin that has developed over the years due to genetics or age.

You and your doctor may choose to pair an arm lift surgery with another procedure to achieve your desired silhouette. Liposuction of the arms, sometimes used in conjunction with an arm lift, is a procedure that removes excess fat deposits in the upper arm.

Some surgeons recommend a mini arm lift, sometimes called an invisible arm lift, for patients with only a limited amount of extra skin and fat. These brachioplasty procedures are often coupled with liposuction. Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Jabor, leading plastic surgeons here at the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso, can perform this procedure with minimal downtime.

Should You Get an Arm Lift or Liposuction?

There’s always a little question in the minds of potential candidates about arm lift vs. liposuction. Plastic surgeons will choose one or the other (or both!) for different results and different plastic surgery patients. Sometimes they’re both performed simultaneously.

Liposuction alone gives the arms more definition and contouring if you have excess fat and good skin elasticity. But if you have more lax skin than fat and opt for liposuction only, you’ll end up with even more loose and droopy skin.

When performing an arm lift in conjunction with liposuction, it ensures that patients receive exactly the kind of results they hope to achieve through cosmetic surgery. However, no one brachioplasty procedure is like the other – Dr. Reynolds or Dr. Jabor will customize a plan that fits your needs and lifestyle.

A brachioplasty may also be performed as part of a mommy makeover or total body lift surgery for a patient with excess skin in multiple places after weight loss.

How Is an Arm Lift Procedure Performed?

Arm lift surgery typically takes about one to three hours, depending on the patient, their desired results, and their condition.

Before the brachioplasty, you’re given anesthesia, either locally or generally. Small incisions will be made on the inside or back of your arm that runs from your elbow to your armpit. Your surgeon will then trim away excess skin and fatty tissue along that incision line, tighten it to fit the contour of your arm, and suture it into place.

You’ll likely go home the same day once anesthesia has worn off. Be sure you have someone you trust there to take you home and stay with you for the first 24 to 48 hours. Raising your arms will be impossible, not to mention just a terrible idea, so plan to have a caretaker nearby.

Before being sent home, your provider’s staff will ensure you’re not feeling too much discomfort and have your pain medication prescription to help you through the most challenging stretch immediately after your arm lift.

Your stitches will be removed approximately one to two weeks after the procedure or after your arms have begun healing.

If your surgeon recommends a mini arm lift, you’ll have a much shorter incision right below the armpit, which leaves a small, less noticeable scar.

Your Recovery: What to Expect After an Arm Lift

During the four to six weeks of healing, you’ll need to limit your range of motion and keep your incision sites steady.

Since you won’t be able to lift your arms above your shoulders for at least 14 days, we recommend letting incisions near the armpit heal even longer, for around four weeks, before raising your arms above the shoulders.

These restrictions can make typical cleansing activities a bit of a challenge, but our doctors may say you will be able to enjoy your first shower after 24 to 36 hours. Your surgeon will confirm to what degree you can lift your arms and when. You may ask a family member or friend to wash and dry your hair for the first couple of weeks.

Incisions from your arm lift usually take four to eight weeks to heal completely, and you’ll need to avoid strenuous activity until your doctor clears you for more movement.

If your work is physically demanding, especially any lifting, plan on taking off at least four to eight weeks to recover properly. Even if you have a sedentary job, you should expect to be out of the office for at least two weeks.

During your recovery time, your arms will be wrapped in bandages or enclosed in brachioplasty compression sleeves (especially if you’ve also had arm liposuction) to keep swelling down and remind you to restrict movements.

Surgical drains may be placed near your incisions to prevent fluid from accumulating as your arms heal. Your one-week post-op follow-up appointment is most likely when your doctor will remove drains and non-dissolvable stitches. Dissolvable stitches take about a week or two to be reabsorbed by the body.

How Long Does an Arm Lift Last?

Your arm lift results should last at least a decade if your weight remains stable without significant gains or losses. Tell your surgeon if you notice anything unusual or experience drastic body changes.

Skin naturally loses its tautness during aging, so ask your doctor during your consultation about the effects this can have on your arms over time. You may consider nonsurgical skin-tightening treatments as time goes on to ensure the longevity of your new look.

Is an Arm Lift Surgery Worth It?

There are many things to consider before undergoing a surgical procedure. The biggest pro with choosing to have a brachioplasty is that you will feel younger and more confident about your arms. The cons include possibly having a significant scar along your inner arm. Scars generally fade over time and can be treated, but they don’t completely disappear. Your initial healing process will take weeks; it may be months before you can resume your work or strenuous activity.

And if you were to see an inexperienced doctor, you could end up with an asymmetrical arm result. That’s another reason we recommend visiting our talented plastic surgeons here at the Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso, Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Jabor.

Do You Qualify for a Brachioplasty?

Good upper arm lift candidates are healthy patients without severe medical conditions who are at a stable weight for some time, are not significantly overweight and are nonsmokers.

You may choose to have a brachioplasty if you would like to remove drooping, lax skin that has developed over the years or if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight. You may also add liposuction or nonsurgical procedures to your course of treatments to remove excess cellulite or tighten and contour even further.

Choose to experience only nonsurgical options if you need to improve mild to moderate sagging by increasing collagen production.

Achieve Your Desired Results with Arm Lift Surgery!

We invite you to come to our office for your brachioplasty consultation. During this time, Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Jabor will be available to answer your questions and use state-of-the-art simulation to map out a course of action for your arm lift and your long-term maintenance to keep your results as long as possible.

To schedule your appointment with our talented doctors, call 915-543-5600 or contact Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center of El Paso here.


How painful is a brachioplasty procedure?

Recovered arm lift patients report that it can be uncomfortable after the initial post-surgery recovery, but the discomfort tends to subside after three or four days. You’re more likely to feel tightness than pain, with a bit of swelling as you heal. You must follow strict brachioplasty aftercare instructions to avoid complications or an adverse outcome.

How long will you wear brachioplasty recovery sleeves?

Arm bandages only need to be worn around 48 hours post-procedure, but if you have compression sleeves, your surgeon will likely instruct you to wear them longer, for up to four weeks. Compression sleeves can increase the risk of an accumulation of fluid, so be alert to discomfort or unusual swelling.

How long after my brachioplasty can I drive?

Your doctor will most likely advise against driving for at least two weeks after your surgery, depending on your healing process.

What nonsurgical options are available instead of an arm lift surgery?

These skin-tightening treatments rely on ultrasound, infrared light or radiofrequency to correct mild to moderate sagging by boosting collagen production. You can use them after your arm lift to avoid any eventual sagging, but the best brachioplasty surgeons will help prescribe your long-term aftercare with you. Be sure to ask about your options.

You may also choose nonsurgical therapies instead of an arm lift or liposuction procedure, based on your situation, goals or skin type. Remember that nonsurgical treatments do not reduce fat, and you’d need a series of sessions over time to see results.

Will Insurance Cover an Arm Lift?

Consult your insurance to see if they offer coverage for a brachioplasty and what qualifications are required.

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