Arm lift (brachioplasty) surgery is performed to remove excess skin from the inside of the upper arms, which can result from weight loss, loss of skin elasticity, or a combination of the two. Extra skin can cause skin breakdown and chafing, difficulty fitting into clothes, and an unsatisfactory appearance.
The amount of excess skin along the inside of the upper arms will determine how much needs to be removed. Scars may be hidden along the axilla (armpit), but in most cases, a horizontal scar running along the inside of the arm is needed to remove excess skin and improve arm contour. The main goal of recovery is to optimize incision healing, manage post-operative discomfort, and slowly increase your activity as you return to a normal routine.
Surgery is done either as an outpatient (meaning you will go home the day of your surgery) or as an inpatient (meaning you will be admitted to the hospital following the surgery). This depends on the type of surgery you undergo and your general health. After surgery, pain is controlled by prescription pain medication. A drain is placed into each arm to reduce the risk of developing a fluid collection. These drains typically are removed one to two weeks after your surgery.
For several weeks after surgery, your activity will be limited from lifting anything heavy or performing excessively strenuous activity. However, you will be encouraged to maintain a baseline level of light activity, such as walking around and performing basic daily activities. The scars are permanent, and will at first be noticeable, but should fade with time. Scar care will be discussed to optimize scar healing. Your incisions will be covered with Steri-Strips, or white surgical bandages, which will either fall off on their own or which Dr. Shore will remove later in the office.