Karol Gutowski, MD, FACS

BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON
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Arm Lift

Arm Lift - Brachioplasty - Chicago, IL

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Overview

An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is a great option for patients following a massive weight loss who wish to reshape and tone loose, sagging arms. This surgery removes the loose skin deformity and then tightens the underneath tissues and muscles for a firmer look. Chicago plastic surgeon, Dr. Karol Gutowski, can either trim away the extra fat or use liposuction to remove it. Dr. Gutowski takes special care to make the incision in a discreet spot such as in the back of the arm to minimize scarring and to provide maximum benefits.

Surgical Technique

The goal of an arm lift is to result in a toned upper arm appearance. The length of the incision varies depending on how much skin and fat are to be removed. Patients who have a fairly good skin tone may only require a minor incision. However, patients who have excessively loose, hanging skin will require an incision that may run from the armpit to the elbow. At this time, the excess skin is trimmed and the underlying muscles are tightened. In some patients, the armpit will also need to be addressed and surgically tightened.

During/After Surgery

Patients undergoing brachioplasty are put under general anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure that takes an average of 2 hours to complete. If the procedure is a part of an after weight loss surgery, which usually involves more than one body part, an overnight stay may be required. After surgery, the arm is protected with a compression garment and drain tubes may be present to avoid the risk of infection. Swelling and bruising are normal. Patients should keep the arm elevated to promote blood circulation and help with swelling. With proper care, the arm will return to normal function after several weeks.

Arm Lift FAQs

Arm Lift or Lipo?

This depends on the amount of loose skin that is present. Patients who lose a significant amount of weight generally need the skin removed in order to attain a positive result. In fact, many times, arm lift patients do not even need liposuction because there’s no excess fat to be removed. On the other hand, patients who have relatively good skin elasticity may only need liposuction or minor tightening.

What About Scars?

Any patient who undergoes an operation where skin is excised and incisions are made should understand that scarring is a part of the procedure, including brachioplasty. We make every effort to ensure that the scar will be as minimal as possible. For post-surgery care, topical ointments to assist in scar healing will be prescribed. It is also recommended that patients avoid sun exposure during the first year to protect the incisions from any additional discoloration. Most patients believe the benefits of a more toned arm outweight the appearance of scars. 

Other Procedures?

It is common for arm lift patients to combine this surgery with another procedure. This is sometimes referred to as an upper body lift and may include liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast surgery (breast lift). During the consultation, each surgery will be discussed and recommendations will be made as to whether these procedures can be done at the same time. 

How Contoured?

An arm lift is performed to remove hanging skin and fat. The only way to build actual muscle is through strength training. Following surgery, once the arms are fully healed, patients can begin weight training if they wish to do so. This is a great way to add shape to the arms by toning and strengthening them. Patients should maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise in order to avoid a recurring weight gain, which could compromise the surgical results.

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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.