Dr. Emre Gönenç Baygöl
Updated on November 23rd, 2023
Arm lift surgery, also known as brachioplasty, is a surgical operation performed to lift sagging arm skin and give it a tighter appearance. This procedure is especially preferred to eliminate sagging skin that occurs after weight loss or due to the effects of aging.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the brachioplasty procedures, the potential risks and possible complications of this surgery. We will also focus on the things to consider before and after surgery, examine non-surgical arm lift methods and provide information about the current prices of these procedures. In the light of this information, you will be able to master all the details about arm sagging and determine the right treatment options.
Arm sagging is generally defined as loose, sagging skin on the lower arm as a result of aging, weight loss or sometimes genetic factors. This condition occurs when the skin loses its elasticity and subcutaneous fat tissue decreases.
Arm sagging, which is usually a natural part of the aging process, causes the skin to lose its firmness and sagging to occur with rapid weight loss. Lack of physical activity can also cause arm sagging. Excessive sun exposure and inadequate skin care cause the skin to age faster and lose its elasticity.
Fat accumulation, decreased muscle mass, genetic factors and dietary habits can cause thickening of the arm. Genetic factors, in particular, influence fat deposition in the arm area, and some people are predisposed to store more fat in certain areas, such as the arm.
As this is also related to lifestyle and eating habits, insufficient physical activity and high-calorie, unhealthy eating habits can lead to excess fat storage in certain areas, such as the arms. This can become more pronounced during menopause or in women experiencing hormonal imbalances.
Therefore, the idea of ideal arm thickness, especially for women, is not a correct approach. Arm measurements vary greatly depending on many variables such as height, body structure, genetic factors, muscle mass and fat ratio.
However, as an idea, the general body and arm thickness measurement range is as follows:
Collagen and Arm Sagging
There is no conclusive study that collagen directly affects sagging arms. However, since collagen level decreases with age, it is known to cause skin and arm sagging. Therefore, we can say that collagen indirectly affects arm sagging.
Brachioplasty is surgery to remove sagging skin and excess fatty tissue from the upper arms. This procedure is suitable for people who have loose and sagging skin on their upper arms due to aging, excess weight loss or genetic factors.
During the procedure, the doctor removes excess skin and fat so that the arms look firmer and smoother. Arm lift surgery is performed by plastic surgeons.
Since the surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, no pain is felt during the surgery. However, some pain and discomfort may be experienced after surgery. This is normal and expected.
The incisions on the skin are located on the inner part of the arm extending from the armpit to the elbow. The size and visibility of the scars due to the incisions may vary according to the size of the incisions made, the patient’s skin type, the healing process and the skill of the surgeon. Regular wound care with the development of modern techniques can reduce these scars over time, but they should not be expected to disappear completely.
Since arm lift surgery is considered an aesthetic procedure, such operations are not performed in public hospitals and are not covered by the state. For example, such surgeries can be performed in state hospitals for medical reasons, such as severe skin sagging after excessive weight loss, and can be partially or fully covered by the SSI.
During surgery, there may be risks such as allergic reactions to anesthesia or respiratory problems. There may also be postoperative bleeding, risk of infection and difficulties in wound healing.
Opening of the sutures or the formation of abnormal scars at the wound site are also possible risks. Rarely, serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis or nerve damage can also occur. There may also be prolonged pain, numbness or changes in skin sensitivity after surgery.
Arm lift surgery is a procedure that usually takes between 1 and 3 hours. However, a comprehensive arm lift surgery may take longer than a procedure to correct only a small sagging skin.
In arm lift surgery, arm fat is usually removed with two main methods:
By the end of the first week after surgery, many people can return to their normal daily activities, but it may take several weeks to several months for full recovery and results to be seen. Usually, within six weeks, most patients can return to their normal exercise routine and more intense activities.
Likewise, it may take several weeks to several months for the surgical incisions to heal and the scars to fade. Within the first few weeks, the incisions will close and the bruising and swelling will begin to decrease. However, it can often take up to a year for the scars to completely disappear or become less visible.
Bruising after surgery is quite common. Damage to the small blood vessels under the skin and leakage of blood into the surrounding tissues results in bleeding that appears as bruising. Bruising is most noticeable in the first few days after surgery and diminishes over time. It usually takes a few weeks for it to disappear completely.
In this process, the use of a postoperative corset helps to reduce swelling and bruising. It helps the skin to adapt to its new shape and heal properly. In addition, wearing a corset helps the patient to feel more comfortable and secure by keeping the arms stable. The gentle pressure exerted by the corset can improve blood circulation, which can speed up the healing process. This pressure can also help prevent fluid accumulation and edema formation.
It is necessary to wait a few days for the surgical incisions to heal completely and become waterproof. After minor surgical procedures, patients can usually take a light shower within 24-48 hours.
After surgery, it is necessary to use the medications given for pain control regularly and ensure that the pain is kept under control. Also, keeping the surgical site clean and dry reduces the risk of infection. Wearing an arm corset or bandage for the period recommended by your doctor also supports healing and reduces swelling.
It is important to limit physical activity in the first weeks after surgery. Avoiding heavy lifting and not exercising intensely will help the surgical site to heal.
Mini arm lift is a procedure performed by making an incision in the armpit area or below the elbow on the arm using a smaller incision.
It is a suitable option for people with mild to moderate skin sagging and better skin elasticity. The advantage is shorter recovery time, less scarring and a lighter surgical intervention.
Non-surgical arm lift procedures include radiofrequency treatment, laser treatment, ultrasound treatment, cryolipolysis (Cold Lipolysis), filler injections, chemical peeling and microdermabrasion.
Apart from these methods, doing sports can help tighten the arms and prevent arm sagging. Resistance exercises and weight training are particularly effective for making the arms firmer and toned.
For example, arm bending-arm extension exercises using dumbbells or barbells strengthen the muscles of the arms. Body weight exercises such as push-ups also work the arms, chest and shoulder muscles and tighten them. Exercises such as Pilates and yoga, sports such as swimming and rowing are very effective for arm muscles.
Lifting weights does not directly slim the arms, but it can help them look firmer and toned. Weight lifting increases the muscle mass of the arms and this makes them look more defined and shaped.
In Europe and America, the prices of such surgeries usually vary between $4,000 and $10,000.
In Turkey, the prices of arm lift and liposuction surgeries can vary between approximately 40.000 – 50.000 TL. However, these figures may vary depending on the clinic, doctor and location.