Lean, toned arms are the goal of many women, who spend countless hours at the gym trying to achieve them. Younger women who have maintained a steady weight over the years are more likely to be successful at sculpting their ideal arms through exercise alone. But for women (or men) who have lost significant weight, or whose skin is not as elastic as it once was, achieving those arms may seem like a constantly-moving mirage. As a result, the “arm lift” (or brachioplasty) has become one of the hottest trends in cosmetic surgery.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently reported that there has been a more than 4000% increase in the number of arm lifts performed since 2000, with more than 15,000 women undergoing the procedure in 2013.
To hear those statistics and realize there is a solution for excess skin and fat on the arms can be a powerful temptation. And arm lifts can be greatly transformative. However, the choice to have an arm lift is one that truly requires careful consideration.
Is an Arm Lift Right for YOU?
One of the most important considerations with any surgery is scarring. This is especially true with arm lifts because there is nowhere to hide the scars.
With a tummy tuck surgery, a talented cosmetic surgeon will leave you with a thin, horizontal scar that is situated to hide in even a low-rise bikini bottom. Similarly, well-done, lollipop-style breast lift scars are small enough that they will not be detected even in a tiny, triangle-style bikini top. But with sleeveless and even some short-sleeve tops, arm lift scars will be visible. They will fade with time, but they will never disappear.
If you’re considering arm lift surgery, you will need to make sure you are working with an experienced cosmetic surgeon who has a wide array of tools at his disposal—and who is willing to consider all of the options. An experienced surgeon who has your best interests in mind will be honest with you about the trade-off of having visible scars that extend from arm pit to elbow to achieve dramatically tightened, more youthful-looking arms.
If you have experienced major weight loss and have a significant amount of excess skin, chances are the transformation you will undergo with an arm lift surgery will be worth the scarring. Your arms will look radically tighter and more youthful, and having long scars may be justified.
But if you only have a mild to moderate amount of excess skin and fat, it may be in your best interest to explore other options before committing to such an aggressive approach as a total arm lift. Fortunately, you still have many options to help you achieve more beautiful arms that you’ll be proud to show off.
Dr. Deal and Dr. Nease make it a priority to consider the whole patient rather than just the body parts she (or he) desires to improve. Dr. Deal and Dr. Nease will consider your goals and lifestyle, as well as current body condition, to make recommendations that will provide the most satisfying results. He will not recommend an arm lift surgery simply because we can, or to chase the latest trend.
At Southern Surgical Arts, we prefer to think of the process as arm rejuvenation, which can include a variety of procedures dictated by your individual goals and condition. For women with mild to moderate excess fat and skin, we will likely recommend a combination of intraoperative and postoperative approaches. A more conservative approach will still result in an attractive outcome with no scarring.
We do not want you achieving smaller, tighter arms, only to retreat behind long-sleeves again. Especially considering how uncomfortable that would be for much of the year in the South!
For mild to moderate cases, we frequently use non-invasive approaches like topical skin tightening via radiofrequency devices, or ultrasound-based technology. Or minimally-invasive approaches such as radiofrequency, ultrasound, or laser-assisted lipolysis. We will recommend a more aggressive surgical approach when we are treating severe loose skin. Our goal is to find the treatment that is the most beneficial to you, period.
And, if you choose a less aggressive approach first and then find you want a bit more tightening —you can opt to do so. We’ll ask you to wait four months for the swelling to completely subside first so you can see your final result. If desired, we can then perform another topical or lipo procedure. Or, if you think you do want the most dramatic change possible, we can show you what you can expect from the scarring at different stages of healing. Then you will be well-informed as to whether the arm lift is worth it to you. You have many options, and we will help you find the best one for YOU.
At the end of the day, we want you to have confidence and feel good about yourself. We are dedicated to working with you to find out how best to achieve that.
For further information on the fine art of brachioplasty, look for an upcoming article published in Surge, a publication of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Our own Dr. Carey Nease has written an in-depth article on the topic that will be featured in the magazine!
If you want to learn more about your arm-beautifying options, please contact Southern Surgical Arts at 423.266.3331 to schedule a complimentary consultation.