Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

What Is Brachioplasty?

When people think about plastic or cosmetic surgery they tend to think of breast implants, tummy tucks and possibly face lifts. But in reality there are now a myriad of other procedures and operations that are available for people looking for a little helping hand in getting the appearance they want. Brachioplasty is one such procedure and is more commonly known as an arm lift. The procedure seeks to remove loose skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arm.

The area under the arm is sometimes known as “batwings” owing to their flappy, stretched nature. The condition is normally caused by people losing a lot of weight in a short space of time, or simply growing older and seeing the loose skin droop downwards. The procedure is more commonly performed for women but men are now also choosing to take to the knife to firm up their arms for later life. People’s arms tend to be on view a lot and in an increasingly hotter climate, are wearing fewer clothes than they did many years ago. As such, more of the body is on show than ever before and so there is increased pressure on people to look good and feel confident in their body up to retirement and beyond.

The Brachioplasty procedure will see the loose skin in the upper arm removed, leaving the scar hidden in the armpit and often along the inner aspect of the arm to the elbow. A common question is how long the scar will be and this will usually depend upon the degree of excess skin that is being removed. The operation is predictable and will change the shape of the arm for the better. There will however be quite an obvious, if hidden scar which will fade after about 12 months.

Before committing to any surgery it is important you consider all the factors and discuss any fears or apprehensions you may have with your surgeon. Having your upper arms tightened can be a quick and relatively painless way to looking good and feeling confident about your body. The procedure takes around 2-3 hours and can usually be done by either local or general anaesthetic. Recovery time varies but most people will be fine to do every aspect of their life normally again after a couple of weeks. Most patients are very comfortable at 7-10 days and fine by 14. The final look and outcome of the surgery will continue to improve until around 3 months afterwards.

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