One area that is consistently of concern is the upper arm, where there is often a large amount of sagging skin. Sagging skin under the arm is often referred to as “bat wings.” If you are concerned with the amount of sagging skin under the arm, then you may be a candidate for an arm lift, also called a brachioplasty.

An arm lift is a cosmetic procedure that reshapes the profile of the arms to create a slimmer shape. Skin tends to sag as we age because the skin loses its elasticity, which means it is less and less able to resist the effects of gravity. The procedure involves an incision along the backside of the upper arm, which allows for excess skin to be removed.

There are several brachioplasty techniques.  The proper technique is determined by the amount of skin that needs to be excised to achieve the desired result.  As a rule, the more skin that is loose, the larger the incision needs to be made. When there is redundant skin present in the arm, there is often also redundant skin along the arm pit and lateral chest wall. The extension of the incision along the arm pit or lateral chest wall, when necessary to correct the deformity, creates an “L” shaped scar.  This type of brachioplasty is appropriately called an “L brachioplasty”.  L brachioplasty is commonly required in patients who have lost massive weight because the tissue elasticity has been terribly compromised from rapid body volume loss.  Thus, skin excess is generally global in nature.

In arms that have less skin redundancy, a crescent brachioplasty may be performed.  As it sounds, a crescent shaped area of skin is excised in the axilla to tighten the arm.  This tightens the arm in only one vector, as opposed to the L brachioplasy which tightens the arm in two vectors.  As a rule, the crescent brachioplasty does not tighten the entire upper arm beyond the mid upper arm since the anchor point for the skin is in the axilla (arm pit).  The farther one travels from the anchor point, the less tension one sees. The only true advantage of this weak reshaping technique is that the scar can be well hidden in the armpit, which is in contrast to the L brachioplasty and standard brachioplasty where the incision runs along the inner surface of the arm ending just shy of the elbow.

In between the L brachioplasty and crescent brachioplasty is the standard brachioplasty technique which starts in the axilla and ends just proximal to the elbow.

The biggest complaint patients have about brachioplasty is the scar.  While it is placed in the inner arm, the skin in this area isn’t terribly forgiving when it comes to healing.  Thus, the trade-off of better shape for scar must be a satisfactory one for a successful outcome.

For photos of arm lifts click here.

Speak with Dr. Tim Neavin to learn more information about the arm lift.

Contact us at our office in Beverly Hills to schedule a consultation.


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