Nervous About Arm Lift/breast Uplift. What Are The Risks/Complications?

I have been seriously persuing having both these procedures but am now getting cold feet now its time to commit to a surgery date as I am not sure I will come out worse off. I need some independant advice from a surgeon on whether I should abandon these procedures as I am a borderline candidate for the arms - and my breasts are large but hidden in a supportive bra. I'm scared of losing sensation in my arms, limited movements, nerve damage, prominent scarring & Keloids. Can somebody please help?

Doctor Answers 7

Resolve Concerns before Surgery

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All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Any breast operation can result in changes in sensation. This happens less with lifts than reductions but is still possible. Occasionally, minor complications occur and do not affect the surgical outcome. Major complications associated with this procedure are rare. The suitability of the breast lift procedure and specific risks may be determined during your consultation.

#Hypertrophic or #keloid scars can be a problem. The worst are usually under the breast with an #AnchorLift or inverted “T”. These can be treated like all thickened scars with re-excision, laser, kenalog/5-FU injections, creams, silicone strips and other methods to reduce and improve healing. Make sure to discuss all concerns with your PS, and there is never any need to schedule your procedure until your worries are resolved. Best of luck!

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

You are not ready for surgery

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You have mentioned few concerns that would require more time and evaluations. You need robe ready for surgery and based on your comments you are not.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Breast lift

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Both are great procedures.  Any major procedure on the breast has the potential of causing sensory problems, but overall, less chance than with a breast reduction.  The arm lift is a also a good procedure.  If you are a borderline candidate, you may only need liposuction.  If there is clearly excess skin, then only an arm lift will take care of it.  Unfortunately, the problem is the large and potentially thick scar.  Most patients, however, are OK with it.  It is important to clearly review this with your plastic surgeon before having surgery.  Losing sensation in your arms, or nerve damage is a possibility, but unlikely.  415.923.3800

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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Nervous About Arm Lift/breast Uplift. What Are The Risks/Complications?

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If you are so uncertain as to your being a candidate for these surgeries than by all means do not proceed. Best to obtain a few more in person opinions.  

Arm lift and breast lift.

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You have listed some of the porential risks, there are others. But they should be minimal if you are otherwise healthy. The best predictor for scarring is how you have healed in the past. Brachioplasty scars can be unsightly! We try to limit them as much as possible, but they will be there. What is your body fat compostion and distribution? What is your skin tone and elasticity? These factors may determine whether you should proceed or not, especially since you state you are a borderline candidate. Maybe liposuction alone is an option.

Regarding the breast lift. You say you are large. Larger than you want to be? If so, maybe a reduction is an option. The scars are similar. They may also be noticable, like the arm scars.  Depending on how large, your insurance may cover it.

You should plan a follow-up visit and ask these, and other, questions.

Robert H. Schnarrs, MD
Norfolk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Arm and Breast Lifting?

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Thank you for the question.

I am somewhat concerned about your statement about being a “borderline candidate for the arms”. Some words of caution regarding the arm  lifting surgery…

The arm lifting procedure is a great procedure to remove excess skin and adipose tissue of the upper arms. However, this procedure carries a major drawback: difficult scarring that may require scar revision (more so, in my experience, then other procedures).

I have tried placement of the resulting scars in the bicipital  groove (between the biceps and triceps muscles)  as well as a long the inferior–lower aspect of the upper arm. I have found higher patient satisfaction with the latter approach. If the excision can be planned such that the scar falls along the frontal aspect of the lower arm, then the scar may be visible only when the patient raises his/her arms.

As with many plastic surgical procedures, the planning of the incisions and resulting scar line is critical. However, even with attention to detail, the resulting scars may not be ideal and revisionary surgery is  often necessary to improve the appearance (for example, the width) of the scars.

In regards to the breast lifting surgery decision comes down to weighing the degree of “deformity” (how much the breast size/shape/position concern you) against the potential risks/complications/scarring associated with the breast surgery.  Patients who elect to undergo breast lifting surgery must be prepared for this  trade-off. You may want to make a list of the pros and cons and try to make an objective decision.

Please make sure your seeking  surgery with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps. 



Considering arm lift and breast lift

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There are certain precautionary measures that can be taken to minimize keloid formation. Nerve damage with arm lift is possible, but very unlikely. Arm range of motion should not be affected either if executed properly. And as far as the breast lift scarring, there is a new procedure that is called the Ultimate Breast Lift that does not have the vertical scar and lifts large breasts high and perky. It's worth looking into. I hope this helps, Dr. H

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.