5 Ways to Achieve Natural Results from Arm Lift Surgery


An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is not just about removing the sagging skin that is a common residual effect of massive weight loss. A more important goal is to preserve the natural contour and to make the scars as discrete as possible.

These are the five ways to achieve natural results from arm lift surgery.

1. Achieve a stable weight. This is a prerequisite with any type of plastic surgery after weight loss in which the idea is to remove the excess skin and tighten as much tissue as possible.

The general rule of thumb is to be within 10 percent of your ideal weight, or reach the weight you can maintain long term. Keep in mind that the results can change with weight variations after surgery.

However, you should not lose weight about a month prior to surgery because it can lead to malnutrition and possibly dehydration, which have deleterious effects on your healing.

2. Create a strong deeper structure. The idea is to tighten and reshape the underlying supportive tissue, or fascia, with internal sutures to create a strong support for the new contour. This is importance since tightening the skin alone will yield to short-lived results and poor contour.

3. Use the proper scar technique. The position and length of scar is determined by the amount of correction needed and the placement of excess skin. Nevertheless, a good surgeon will make every effort to hide this “stigmata” of plastic surgery.

The standard technique uses an elbow-to-armpit incision placed along the underside of the upper arm. But occasionally, the scars are positioned more posteriorly to achieve better contour.

It is equally important to close the wound in several layers to eliminate tension on the skin, allowing the scars to heal into a whitish, fine line after about a year.

4. Avoid over-correction. Removing too much skin can lead to poor healing, wide scars, and overly tight appearance.

Liposuction, which is often performed in conjunction with arm lift surgery, should also avoid being over-aggressive because a layer of fat is needed to achieve a smooth, natural contour.

Sometimes it is better to perform liposuction and arm lift separately to achieve a more predictable result, although the “ideal” approach still depends on several variables.

5. Postop care. Wound care differs from surgeon to surgeon, so you must follow the specific instructions of your doctor. However, the basic “rules” include avoiding the sun for a year, tension on the incision site, and opportunities for infection.
Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon