What is a Brachioplasty?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Commonly referred to as an arm lift, brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that removes loose skin from the upper arm. Procedures of this type are often utilized to help reshape the upper portion of the arm after the individual has undergone a significant weight loss or the skin has begun to lose elasticity later in life. The arm surgery helps to restore a reasonable range of proportion and skin tone.

While brachioplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure, candidates for the surgery must meet basic requirements in order to qualify. The individual cannot be obese and must maintain a stable weight for several months. People with any type of medical condition that could inhibit the healing process are highly likely to be rejected. Many surgeons prefer that the candidate be a non-smoker. When some form of substance abuse or addiction is indicated, there is also a reduced change the individual will qualify.

As with any type of surgical procedure, there is a degree of risk involved with arm lifts. The amount of scarring on the underside of the upper arm may be significant in the event an infection sets in during the recovery period. An adverse reaction to the anesthesia may take place. Brachioplasty patients may also experience a collection of fluid around the incision that must be drained at various points during the healing process.


Some of the potential risks with brachioplasty are more permanent. The skin and muscles of the upper arm may experience a decrease in sensation, possibly even numbness. Permanent discoloration of the skin around the incision may take place. There is also the potential for losing skin as well as the development of blood clots.

Prior to scheduling arm lift surgery, the attending physician will qualify the candidate, making sure there are no complicating factors that would increase the risk beyond a reasonable range. Once the candidate is cleared for brachioplasty, the physician will discuss all the risks in detail with the patient. In addition, information regarding the recovery period will be discussed at length with the patient. Only after the individual understands the risks and what to expect during brachioplasty recovery will the surgeon proceed.

While there are risk factors to consider, people who undergo brachioplasty are often very happy with the results. Instead of excess skin hanging off the underside of the upper arm, the individual will have a toned and taut arm. While there will be a scar on the underside of the arm, many patients are left with scarring that is eventually so light that it is difficult to detect.

Along with the physical benefits of undergoing brachioplasty, there is also the enhanced confidence that comes from being



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