Arm Lift

You've put in the work and reached your goal weight, an exciting milestone worth celebrating, but that wasn't the end of the story. Although the weight is gone, you're left with stubborn, sagging skin on your upper arms that doesn't respond to your efforts. This frustrating problem has made you feel self-conscious in short sleeves or tank tops, preventing you from wearing certain styles of clothing and showing off your fit physique.

For many men and women who have lost a significant amount of weight, this is a familiar issue. Diet and exercise can help you achieve your weight loss goals, but it can also leave behind loose, stretched skin that looks unappealing and causes chafing and discomfort. While this can occur anywhere on the body, the arms are a common trouble spot for many patients, creating what is known colloquially as "bat wings." If you're unhappy with the appearance of your arms and want to eliminate excess skin, double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Franziska Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC can help you achieve a more sculpted look that complements your slimmer figure with an arm lift procedure.

What is an Arm Lift?

Although exercise can help build muscle and improve arm tone, it can't address the excess folds of skin that remain after a significant amount of weight loss. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that targets the underside of the upper arms to remove stretched, deflated skin that has lost its elasticity and doesn't respond to diet or exercise. By removing this sagging skin, an arm lift can smooth the tissue and reshape the arms for a more contoured, toned appearance.

Who is a Good Candidate for Arm Lift Surgery?

Loose skin on the upper arms is commonly associated with significant weight loss, but the aging process, genetics, and stubborn pockets of localized fat can also create the appearance of "bat wings." Regardless of the cause, it may be a good time to consider an arm lift if:

  • You are troubled by sagging, drooping upper-arm skin
  • Your skin has lost its elasticity
  • Your loose skin has a crepe-like appearance
  • You've lost a significant amount of weight and have excess, stretched skin
  • You experience chafing, rashes or irritation
  • You aren't comfortable wearing clothing that exposes your upper arms (short sleeves, sleeveless garments, dresses, tank tops, bathing suits, etc.)
  • You understand an arm lift is not a substitute for a healthy diet or exercise
  • You have realistic expectations

For an optimal outcome, it's recommended that patients are at or near their goal before undergoing arm lift surgery. This will allow Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC to sculpt seamless results that complement the rest of your body. Maintaining a stable weight is also important to preserve the tone and definition of your arms after surgery.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

At Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC, your arm lift surgery will be highly personalized depending on your unique needs, expectations and anatomy. Before beginning, Dr. Huettner will carefully mark the treatment area to ensure an accurate and reliable outcome that addresses your specific concerns. Arm lifts can be performed in a few different ways, but the technique Dr. Huettner uses will be based on your skin's elasticity, the amount of excess skin and fat being removed and your aesthetic goals. Often, the arm lift procedure includes liposuction to remove localized deposits of fat for a more smooth and aesthetically pleasing result.

A traditional arm lift utilizes a strategically placed incision that extends down from the armpit to an area close to the the elbow, allowing Dr. Huettner to contour the fatty tissues, sculpt a more defined shape and effectively remove unwanted skin. She will then pull the skin taut and suture it in place, creating a firmer and more toned upper arm. This technique is often used for patients with a significant amount of extra skin for more dramatic results.

For patients with a smaller amount of excess arm skin, Dr. Huettner may use a less invasive approach known as a limited incision arm lift. Rather than utilizing a long incision along the length of the upper arm, this technique uses a smaller incision in the underarms, allowing Dr. Huettner to achieve good results and minimize visible scarring.

The type of arm lift that is right for you will depend on a variety of factors, which Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC will discuss with you in detail during a consultation. As an expert in creating balanced, proportioned and artistic results, your arm lift procedure will be tailored just for you to ensure a smooth, seamless appearance that complements and enhances your overall appearance.

What is the Recovery Like?

After your arm lift procedure, the area will be tender and sore, but most patients are able to manage any post-operative discomfort with over-the-counter medications. Your arm movement may also be reduced following your surgery, as bandages, dressings or compression garments may be used to control swelling and bruising. To prevent excess fluid from accumulating, a drain may also be used. During this time, it's important to limit vigorous activity, but most patients can return to work or school one to two weeks after the procedure.

Dr. Huettner at Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC will advise you on returning to physical activity and provide detailed aftercare instructions for cleaning your incisions, managing any symptoms you experience and minimizing scarring. The visibility of your scars will depend on which technique was used, although these will become less noticeable as your body heals and continue to improve over time. If you have any questions or concerns during your recovery period, Dr. Huettner provides you with a direct line of communication. She believes in giving each patient her undivided attention and the one-on-one care they deserve, facilitating a better plastic surgery experience and improving treatment outcomes.

What Risks are Associated With an Arm Lift?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with an arm lift. One of the most common concerns among patients and physicians is scar visibility. Depending on the surgical technique that best addresses your concerns, scars may extend down the length of your inner arm to your elbow. Dr. Huettner is careful to minimize scarring and utilizes the smallest incision length possible while still helping you achieve your aesthetic goals. Scars will begin to fade as your body heals and carefully following all aftercare instructions, protecting your arms from sun exposure and the passage of time can help improve the outcome. Additional, Laser scar treatments started as soon as two weeks after the procedure can help to dramatically improve the aesthetic appearance of the area. Many patients who struggle with "bat wings" feel that the risk of scarring is an appropriate trade-off for removing unwanted excess skin and are pleased with their results, allowing them to bare their arms with confidence and feel more comfortable with themselves.

Contact Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC

If you're tired of hiding your arms and want to feel more confident in your own skin, New York's premier double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Franziska Huettner can help you achieve the smooth, toned look you've always wanted with an arm lift. Contact or call Manhattan Plastic Surgery NYC in New York today at 212-495-9200 to learn more about this procedure and experience the warm, personalized approach you deserve.

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