brachioplasty is essentially an upper arm lift. In this procedure, the
excess hanging skin and fat in the upper arm is removed. Its the
procedure used to correct the common "bat wing" of skin that manifests
in patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. A physical exam is really needed
to make any recommendations. Best wishes.
The best choice of procedure will depend upon your surgical goals. It sounds like your main concern is the saggy skin. In that case an arm lift is the best option because it removes excess skin, leaving a more contoured, tighter appearance. It does have an incision line though that you must be comfortable with. Liposuction will remove excess fat from the area, and may tighten the skin to some degree depending on the elasticity of the skin in that area. It sounds though from the way you describe it that you may not get much tightening since the skin sounds thin.
Truly your best choice is to visit with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who can evaluate your current condition, discuss your goals and recommend the procedure that would be right for you. Best wishes.
Thank you for your question about an arm lift (brachioplasty). Due to the excess of skin I will consider a Brachioplasty this will reduce the size and give you tighter arms. These are options to consider and discuss with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
The timing of an Arm Lift (brachioplasty) after weight loss
An Arm Lift or Brachioplasty is a procedure that is commonly requested after significant weight loss, particularly in older patients who have lost a lot of weight. The issue is related to the very thin skin of the inner arm (much like the inner thigh) where the elasticity of the skin is less. When weight is lost, the thin skin does not "snap back" as well as areas where the skin is thicker, and the result is a loose upper arm (or inner thigh) with more wrinkles. Once your weight is stabilized to a new level, usually a year, and you are comfortable with that weight, a decision can be made about your arms. In a younger person the greater amount of elastic fibers in the skin can allow for a significant tightening of the arm skin for up to a year or two, and obviously bigger muscles do fill out the remaining skin to some degree. However, once you are at your goal weight for a year the likelihood of more improvement in your arm contour is minimal.
Arm Lift After Weight Loss
Patients who lose a significant amount of weight often have problems with extra skin. The arms are no exception. In many cases, the arm lift, or brachioplasty, is the best way to address this extra skin. This should result in good contour of the arm, but it is a surgical procedure, which has risks and benefits. I would recommend consultation with a board - certified Plastic Surgeon, who can review this with you and make a plan that is right for you.
Should you get an arm lift?
Thanks for the question. Without photos it is difficult to give you a faithful answer. Certainly from your description, it sounds like you would benefit from the procedure. These can be problematic areas. Exercise and weight training won't address excess skin and as you lose more and more weight, the problem may seem to get worse. That being said I would advise giving yourself time. I like to see patients who've had a relatively stable weight for 6 months prior to proceeding. This gives skin time to adjust to the new contour you've achieved through diet and exercise and also better defines how much if any work would be beneficial. I would recommend you consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to have an examination and see if the procedure would be right for you. Good luck!
Brachioplasty can leave a noticeable scar even in the most skilled of hands. Especially living in the south were short sleeves and tank tops are common for a large part of the year. Skin tightening always lags the weight loss. I ask my folks to wait at least 6-9 after the weight loss to giveth skin time to tighten on it's own. AT you age you shoals see significant tightening unless there are lots of stretch marks or damage to the skin. If after waiting 6 months, I think a brachioplasty could be considered.
You should see a board-certified plastic surgeon to see what options are reasonable and what your expectations are. Often, one of the most significant concerns is whether you are willing to trade an improved arm contour for a scar which will likely be visible. After talking to your doctor, there may be an obvious choice that is best for you.
Options for arm contouring
It is hard to give you a recommendation without direct examination. If
you do have hanging skin, brachioplasty (arm lift) will give you a good
contour. However, it will have scar. Depending on your need, the scar
can be elbow to armpit or confined around the armpit. If you have a
mild laxity, liposuction/laser may help. It will be best to be examined
by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes.
Options for upper arms after weight loss.
Congratulations on your weight loss. You are wise to ask the question
now, as it appears you are at a crossroads in your diet/exercise/weight
loss program. You have lost the weight, but you now don't want to show
your arms, and further weight loss will only result in more "hanging
BTW, you are correct in noting that weight training will
not tighten skin. Even though you are young, your elasticity will only
go so far in allowing post-weight loss contours to improve as fat volume
is lost, and you would have to exercise like male body builders on
steroids to enlarge your upper arm musculature enough to "fill" the
All that being said, your youth allows the first step
recommended for you to be ultrasonic liposuction. I have been doing
ultrasonic liposuction for nearly two decades (and have had it myself)
and do not find it "tightens" skin much on its own--that is up to
whatever innate or residual elasticity you already possess. But it would
still be my best recommendation for your first step--Vaser ultrasonic
If you don't like how well (or poorly) your skin
contracts after liposuction contouring, then you still have the option
for brachioplasty of one of the "mini" brachioplasty variations which
exist. In general, I am not a fan of these since they try to accomplish
much with too-little skin removal.
So, in order, I'd recommend
continued weight loss and exercise to ideal weight FIRST, then
ultrasonic liposuction/liposculpture, then if needed, skin removal via
mini lift progressing to full brachioplasty. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen