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Brachioplasty Frequently Asked Questions


                                            Brachioplasty or Arm Lift Surgery FAQ's

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You must have sufficient tone in the skin and tissues of the arm to be able to have liposuction alone. If there has been a dramatic weight loss with extra skin, more than likely you will need to have a arm lift performed.




  • Who is a good candidate for brachioplasty surgery?

Any patient who has had loss of tone in the upper arm. This can either be secondary to weight loss or significant loss of tone with aging.




  • Who should not undergo a brachioplasty procedure?

This surgery is not suitable after a mastectomy (breast removal) for breast cancer or operations in the axilla lymph nodes. Those with multiple infections of the sweat glands may also not be candidates for brachioplasty. This is because there may be problems with draining the fluids from your arms as a result of your previous surgery. If you were to have another operation, your arms could swell very badly and this may be permanent.

Patients who are not within 15 percent of their ideal weight should not be considered, as brachioplasty is not an option for weight loss. It is best that the patient be at their target weight first.



  • How do I prepare for the brachioplasty procedure?

Patients are asked to stop taking all medications that may increase bleeding including aspiring, Plavix, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen) and herbal supplements like Vitamin E. Patients also need to be good general health and should have a full physical before the procedure to make sure their blood pressure is controlled.

Patients need to refrain from smoking - as the nicotine in tobacco products decreases the oxygen that is carried in your blood flow to your skin to help heal the surgical incision. Patients who smoke have delayed healing and increased wound complications.

Read about Smoking and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures




A brachioplasty procedure can be performed in four different ways:

Depending on how much skin laxity is present will determine which method would be the most effective procedure.




Depending on the actual type of brachioplasty that will be performed - the scar is normally  placed inside the inner side of the upper arm - beginning at the axillary area (underarm) to the elbow).  If a limited or a mini brachioplasty is indicted, the scar will be much shorter.  

All surgery requires a scar and all scars take time to soften and fade. The final appearance of the scar will not be seen for at least a year or two after surgery. In the beginning, the scar may appear red and raised for the first few months following the surgery. 




  • Are drains going to be used with the brachioplasty?

Drains are sometimes are used after this type of surgery.

Drains are used for two reasons:

  • One is to remove fluid such as serum or blood that would otherwise collect under the skin.

  • The other reason is to pull the skin against the underlying tissue to allow it to stick in place.

If you have drains when you leave the surgery center you will be given instructions on their care before you go home




Brachioplasty Advantages:

  • Directly removes excess skin and fat of arms

  • Firms and tightens arms

  • Tones and defines arms with liposuction




Brachioplasty Disadvantages:

  • Brachioplasty scars tend to be some of the more noticeable scars left after cosmetic plastic surgery. The scars tend to widen and stay more red than typical scars. Still many patients find this an acceptable trade-off in order to rid themselves of all the loose skin.

  • Severe swelling or edema

  • Bleeding and or hematoma




  • When can I start exercising again?

Approximately one to two weeks are necessary to resume daily activities, and approximately four to six weeks (sometimes longer) to resume most sports activities.




  • Will my arms start to sag again?

Generally not, but with substantial weight gains and losses, there could be a partial recurrence of laxity to the area.




  • Can I use Arnica Montana for swelling and bruising?

Arnica is a perennial herb that has been used in other countries (such as Europe) to help with bruising and swelling. 

  • Arnica has proven that it can decrease the healing time. 

  • There are many different types of Arnica Montana that you can take. 

  • Arnica should  never be taken in it's raw form as it can cause intestinal bleeding, abdominal cramps and sickness.

  • Make sure you ask your plastic surgeon first before taking this




  • Can I use bromelain for swelling and bruising?

Bromelain comes from the pineapple plant, in which it contains anti-inflammatory properties with an enzyme that aids in the process of digestion of protein.  Originally used after sports injuries  or in arthritis to help relieve edema and also used after surgical procedures to help reduce swelling.

Patients taking any kind of blood thinner or anticoagulant such as aspirin, warfin (Coumadin) heparin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Advil, Motrin, Naproxyn, Aleve - should only take bromelain under a physician's care.  Make sure you ask your plastic surgeon first before using this after surgery.







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