What Is Bilateral Brachioplasty?

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A person displaying arm after brachioplasty procedure.

Learn about the procedure, recovery, benefits, risks, and expected results.

What is Bilateral Brachioplasty?

Bilateral brachioplasty, or upper arm lift, addresses excess skin and tissue on the upper arms.

This surgery is often recommended for people who’ve lost a lot of weight or have loose arm skin due to factors like aging.

The main goal of bilateral brachioplasty is to create a smoother and more defined arm contour by removing excess skin and fat.

In bilateral brachioplasty, a plastic surgeon makes incisions on the posterior aspect of both arms to access the underlying tissues.

The surgeon removes excess skin and fat through incisions and closes them to minimize scarring.

By reshaping the arms, the surgery seeks to address aesthetic concerns associated with sagging arms, resulting in a firmer and toned appearance.

For those with loose arm skin after weight loss, bilateral brachioplasty can be transformative.

Beyond enhancing the arm’s appearance, it can boost self-confidence and improve comfort. Reshaping the arms can create a more proportionate and youthful look, aligning with weight loss and well-being.

How is Bilateral Brachioplasty Performed?

A Closer Look of a Woman's Arm after Brachioplasty Procedure

The standard brachioplasty involves an incision from the armpit to the elbow, with the length and pattern depending on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. In cases with only a moderate amount of excess skin, a minimal incision under the armpit may be sufficient. 

During the procedure, the surgeon may employ liposuction to remove fat deposits and reshape the arm. Advanced techniques, such as VASER liposculpture, can be combined with traditional liposuction to enhance the contouring effects. 

Benefits of Bilateral Brachioplasty

  • Removes saggy skin, enhancing the appearance of the arms and potentially making it easier to see muscle definition like the biceps .
  • Eliminates stubborn fat deposits, contributing to a slimmer look and firmer arms with less fat overall .
  • Improves the overall shape and contour of the arms, leading to a more toned and rejuvenated appearance .
  • Can reduce skin rashes and discomfort caused by excess skin rubbing against itself .
  • May enhance comfort during physical activities and exercise by reducing excess skin that can interfere with movement .
  • Potentially reduces excess sweating in the arm area by removing the skin folds where sweat can accumulate .
  • Provides better skin tightening results than non-surgical options, offering a more significant and long-lasting improvement .
  • The surgery is fully customizable to meet the specific needs and goals of the patient .
  • Results of a bilateral brachioplasty can be long-lasting, especially if the patient maintains a stable weight post-surgery .
  • Can significantly improve self-esteem and confidence by addressing issues that may affect body image .
  • Often combined with other body sculpting procedures like liposuction for an enhanced outcome
  • Results are visible almost immediately, allowing patients to enjoy their new arm appearance soon after surgery .
  • Encourages a broader wardrobe choice, such as wearing short sleeves and tank tops with renewed confidence 

Who is an Ideal Candidate for Bilateral Brachioplasty?

Ideal candidates should have good skin elasticity, be in overall good health, and be non-smokers to minimize the risk of complications and to promote better healing. They should also be at a stable weight, as future weight fluctuations can affect the results of the surgery.

Patients should have realistic expectations and be aware that while the procedure can significantly improve arm contour, it will leave a scar, which, although permanent, should fade over time.

Factors to Consider Before Undergoing Bilateral Brachioplasty

A woman's arm before and after a bilateral brachioplasty.

Preoperative preparation includes a thorough assessment of the patient’s weight stability, body mass index (BMI), and nutritional profile, often in consultation with a bariatric dietician or nutritionist. 

Patients are advised to follow all pre-operative instructions to ensure a safe and effective surgery. Anesthesia is administered for comfort during the surgery, and the patient is positioned supine with arms placed into arm bars .

Postoperative Care and Recovery

After the surgery, patients can expect to have drainage tubes to prevent fluid build-up, experience bruising and swelling, and wear compression garments to help reduce swelling . 

Incisions are typically closed with either absorbable sutures or stitches that will be removed within one to two weeks following the procedure . The total duration of the brachioplasty procedure can range from one to three hours .

What Are the Risks and Complications of Bilateral Brachioplasty?

As with any surgical procedure, brachioplasty carries risks, including anesthesia complications, surgical risks, blood clots, fluid build-up, tissue death along the wound, sensory nerve damage, and the need for further surgery to treat complications. 

The most common complications reported in a meta-analysis include unfavorable scarring, recurrence of skin ptosis, and wound dehiscence

Choosing the Right Brachioplasty Specialist

A woman's arm before and after a bilateral brachioplasty procedure.

When enhancing your arms through bilateral brachioplasty, choose a skilled surgeon specializing in arm lift surgeries. Consider these essential factors to find the most suitable surgeon:

Prioritize selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in arm lifts. Board certification ensures the surgeon meets standards and possesses the necessary skills for these surgeries.

Evaluate the surgeon’s experience, training, and patient feedback. Choose a surgeon with ample experience in arm lift procedures, plastic surgery training, and positive patient reviews. This combination signifies their competency and ability to deliver satisfactory results.

In your pursuit of toned and contoured arms, the choice of surgeon is critical. For superior results in bilateral brachioplasty, look no further than Dr. Darren M. Smith, one of New York’s finest board-certified plastic surgeons

His exceptional training, which includes a craniofacial surgery fellowship and an aesthetic surgery fellowship, reflects a level of expertise and dedication that sets him apart in the art of cosmetic enhancements.

How Can I Prepare for Bilateral Brachioplasty?

To prepare for bilateral brachioplasty, consult an experienced plastic surgeon to evaluate your candidacy. A medical evaluation will determine if you’re a good candidate, considering weight, loose skin, and elasticity. 

Before surgery, quit smoking to reduce complications, and stop certain medications, especially blood thinners, to minimize bleeding risks. 

Arrange transportation and post-surgery assistance, and follow preoperative instructions, including fasting and showering protocols. Review medications and supplements with your physician.

How Can I Maintain the Results of Bilateral Brachioplasty?

A woman is flexing her arm before and after a Brachioplasty treatment.

To maintain the results of bilateral brachioplasty, it’s crucial to keep your body weight consistent to prevent skin stretching. 

Protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure and avoiding smoking is essential for skin quality and healing. 

A healthy lifestyle, including a nutrient-dense diet and exercise, can impact the results. Arm toning exercises can help maintain the appearance of your arms post-surgery.

What Is the Difference Between Bilateral Brachioplasty and Liposuction?

Bilateral brachioplasty removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms and lateral chest wall, addressing skin laxity and fat deposits. Liposuction focuses on fat removal without addressing loose skin. 

Brachioplasty may combine with liposuction for fat removal and arm contour improvement. The choice depends on the patient’s needs, like the amount of excess skin and fat.

How Will Bilateral Brachioplasty Scars Look Like?

Scars from bilateral brachioplasty are long, extending from the armpit to the elbow. They will fade over time, but can be noticeable. 

The scars are permanent but will flatten and fade to a white color over the first 12 months post-surgery.

Are the Results of Bilateral Brachioplasty Permanent?

The results of bilateral brachioplasty are intended to be permanent, but can be affected by weight changes and aging. Maintaining a stable weight is key to preserving the results, and a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate any loss of firmness due to aging.