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Arm Lift San Francisco

An arm lift in San Francisco reduces excess skin and the fat on the underarm between the armpit and the elbow, resulting in a more toned, youthful appearance.

The upper arm is subject to the effects of weight loss and aging. This area can develop significant skin laxity, giving the “bat wing” appearance that makes many women self-conscious about wearing sleeveless clothing. Isolated areas of fat can also form in this area, further exacerbating the sagging look especially when the arms are raised to shoulder level.

These types of changes do not respond to additional diet and exercise. While liposuction can sometimes be an effective way to remove focalized areas of fat in the upper arm, the procedure will not address the loose skin that is often present. Non-surgical methods of body contouring are also ineffective in most cases, unless the skin laxity is mild to moderate. In fact, the only effective way to reverse the “bat wing” look is through a surgical procedure known as an arm lift or brachioplasty in the Bay Area.

What is an Arm Lift?

An arm lift can be a highly rewarding procedure, especially for patients who have experienced massive weight loss after undergoing gastric bypass or another type of weight loss surgery. These procedures and the fast weight loss that follows can lead to significant amounts of loose skin as the skin did not have time to conform to the new body contour. Patients with large amounts of loose skin on the upper arm and other areas often suffer from skin irritation and rashes, along with the cosmetic embarrassment that accompanies this issue.

Arm lift surgery is a procedure that removes the excess skin and tissue, creating a firmer, more toned look to the upper arm. Arm lifts tend to turn back the clock, producing a more youthful upper arm contour. The procedure can also make it more comfortable to wear certain types of clothing that might have previously been too tight due to the excess folds of skin.

An arm lift is often performed on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. Most arm lifts take 1-2 hours to complete, depending on the amount of correction and whether other procedures will be performed at the same time.

The incision length and the pattern made by the surgeon will depend on the skin that is being removed. Generally, it is placed on the inside of the underarm and might extend all the way from the armpit to the inside of the elbow. While this incision does leave visible scarring, most patients find the tradeoff acceptable when the surgery results in a slimmer, more attractive upper arm profile. The plastic surgeon will use care in sewing up the incision using small, precise sutures that will limit the visibility of the scar once it heals completely.

The procedure is not usually recommended for smokers since smoking can affect how well the skin heals from the incision. Patients that smoke are often advised to stop smoking at least six weeks prior to the procedure and six weeks after surgery. Other patients should be in reasonably good health with reasonable expectations about the outcome of the procedure.

Post Operative Care

Recovery from an arm lift is somewhat different for each patient, based on the length of the incision and the amount of correction performed. Most arm lift patients will wear a compression dressing over the area for the first couple of days to encourage healthy blood flow to the surgical area and reduce swelling. Discomfort for the first few days after surgery can be managed with oral pain medication.

Swelling and bruising are common side effects of this procedure. Both will subside within 2-3 weeks of the surgery, with patients seeing progressive improvements each week. Patients that follow post-operative instructions carefully, including no heavy lifting for around four weeks after the procedure, tend to experience the most comfortable recovery and the best results. Most patients are back to work and other moderate activities within 1-2 weeks.

Full results of an arm lift will become evident once the swelling and bruising fully subside, which can take up to one month. Once these results appear, they will be long-lasting as long as a healthy weight is maintained after the procedure. Over time, the effects of aging may lead to skin laxity once again and additional cosmetic treatments may be needed to maintain the original results.

While Dr. Maas does not perform arm lifts in San Francisco personally, he does offer personal referrals to other plastic surgeons in the area. Dr. Maas can also handle the initial consultation, determining whether an arm lift is the right procedure for each patient.

Dr. Maas has an extensive network of plastic surgeons specializing in arm lifts in Northern and Southern California. For a referral to a surgeon in your area, please call (415) 567-7000 or contact us by email.

It is never too late, To be what you might have been.- George Eliot