Arm lifts are fast on the rise!
According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), approximately 15,000 women underwent an arm lift (brachioplasty) in the United States in 2012. This is an astonishing 4300% increase from the year 2000 making arm lifts the fastest rising cosmetic procedure over the last decade. So why the dramatic rise in upper arm lift surgery? There is no simple answer and this is likely attributed to several factors. First, better weight loss efforts including gastric bypass surgery are leaving patients with sagging skin that can only be improved with surgical tightening. Second, the public is realizing that exercise cannot tighten loose arm skin and they are now better educated about the cosmetic surgery options available. In addition, changes in fashion trends and a focus on some well-toned celebrity arms may have created a larger demand for improving arm contour. Lastly new surgical and scar treatment techniques have resulted in improved contour and scars making this operation more desirable.
If one’s arms are full with good skin quality and no skin excess, then liposuction alone is a good option. When loose skin is present, liposuction alone will somewhat deflate the arms and worsen their appearance. An arm lift is necessary at this point as it improves contour by both removing unwanted fat and tightening loose skin. Commonly liposuction techniques are used at the time of an arm lift to remove fat allowing optimal tightening of skin and shaping of the arms to the best possible contour. The biggest drawback of an arm lift is the length of the scar involved. The scar starts near the elbow and continues up the arm and into the armpit. If designed properly, the scar is not visible from the front or back with the arm at one’s side. When the arms are raised somewhat away from the body in most social situations, only the very lower portion is visible if the scar is prominent. When the scar heals well, it is barely perceptible. Historically, the scars from an arm lift surgery had a reputation of not healing well compared to other procedures leaving patients with larger more visible scars. In the massive weight loss patients, the quality of the scar was less of an issue as the tradeoff was worth removing the large amount of excess skin present. However in patients with mild or moderate skin laxity, the scar was commonly prohibitive. With the advancement of surgical technique and postoperative management of scar healing, the scars associated with this procedure have improved and made this operation much more appealing for a broader group of patients.
If you are interested in improving the shape of your arms seek the advice of a board certified plastic surgeon. During a consultation, a board certified plastic surgeon will determine the optimal approach to improve the contour of your arms whether it is an arm lift, liposuction alone, or a noninvasive method. Dr. Dino Elyassnia is a board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco with experience in arm contouring using both arm lifts and various liposuction techniques.
In the patient above, he has used both an arm lift and liposuction to create a natural, well-toned shape to the arm. Please contact our clinic for more information or to schedule a consultation.
Dino R, Elyassnia, MD, PC
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon