The plastic surgeons at University Hospitals Department of Plastic Surgery in Cleveland, Ohio are experienced in performing arm lift procedures in patients who have experienced significant weight loss.
The upper arms are a common source of frustration for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. The weight loss may be the result of dieting, exercise or bariatric surgery.
After losing weight, the stretched skin may not return to its original shape and starts to droop. Some patients have a hard time finding attractive clothes to accommodate the excess skin.
This problem can be addressed with an arm lift. Arm lift will remove the excess skin and fatty tissue on the upper arms and to some degree on the side of the chest.
Patient History and Examination
Consultation for arm lift at University Hospitals consists of:
- A thorough discussion of the patient's desires and concerns
- An extensive evaluation of the patient's upper arms and chest contour
- Photographs of the upper arms and chest
- A discussion of the available surgical options and the doctor’s recommendations
- A discussion of the limitations and risks of arm lift surgery
Once the patient history and examination is over, the patient is asked to review the written material and to return with a personal list of questions. All questions and concerns are addressed with the plastic surgeons at the Center for Body Contouring & Reconstruction before the decision for arm lift surgery is finalized.
Ideal Candidates for Arm Lift
At the Department of Plastic Surgery at UH, we believe the best candidates for arm lift surgery are patients who fit the following criteria:
- Stable weight
- No severe underlying medical problems
- Positive outlook
- Extensive amount of excess skin on the upper arms
Arm Lift Procedure
The arm lift procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about two hours. Patients will go home on the same day. Occasionally, small drain tubes are used which are removed during an office visit. Arm lift may be performed in conjunction with liposuction or other body contouring procedures.
Side Effects and Recovery
During the first few days after arm lift surgery patients will require pain medications. The pain usually subsides quickly and is noticeable only during certain activities.
Patients are required to maintain compression on the upper arms at all times for three to four weeks. Patients can take a shower after 48 hours.
Extreme range of motion should be avoided to allow for proper healing of the incisions. Most of the stitches are dissolvable and do not require removal.
Results of Arm Lift
Patients are commonly very satisfied with the results of arm lift surgery. The final results may not be visible for six to eight weeks after surgery when the majority of the swelling is resolved. Occasionally, small revision of the scar tissue is necessary.
After undergoing the arm lift procedure, there are permanent scars on the inside of the upper arms. These incisions usually heal well and are not very prominent during normal activities.