Everything You Need To Know About Transaxillary Brachioplasty

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A woman is pointing at her arm during a transaxillary brachioplasty procedure.

Say Goodbye to “Bat Wings”: What Transaxillary Brachioplasty Can Do

What is Transaxillary Brachioplasty?

Transaxillary brachioplasty is a type of arm lift surgery that removes excess skin and fat from the upper arms through an incision made in the armpit (axilla) region.

It is one of the techniques used in brachioplasty procedures to reshape the upper arms by eliminating sagging, loose skin and creating a more toned, contoured appearance.

This procedure is designed to address skin laxity issues caused by:

  • Significant weight loss that leaves behind loose, hanging skin
  • Aging and loss of elasticity over time
  • Genetics

During a transaxillary brachioplasty, an incision is made within the armpit crease, allowing the surgeon access to the back of the arms to remove tissue. This approach means no visible scarring occurs on the inner or outer arm areas.

Who is a Good Candidate for Transaxillary Brachioplasty?

A woman measuring her arm with a measuring tape in preparation for Transaxillary Brachioplasty.

The best candidates for transaxillary brachioplasty are men and women struggling with:

  • Excess, sagging upper arm skin that does not respond to diet or exercise
  • Loose skin on the arms caused by major weight loss
  • Arm skin that has lost elasticity due to aging

Potential patients should be in overall good health and have a stable body weight. It’s recommended to avoid significant weight fluctuations after surgery to maintain results. This procedure can help those with small to moderate amounts of excess arm skin achieve smoother, more toned-looking arms.

Patients with severe skin laxity or who need extensive reshaping may be better candidates for a traditional brachioplasty approach utilizing a more extensive incision. Your surgeon will evaluate your anatomy and recommend the best procedure during your consultation.

What to Expect During a Transaxillary Brachioplasty

Before Surgery

  • Your surgeon will advise you to stop smoking for at least 2 weeks before surgery to optimize healing.
  • Certain medications that increase bleeding risks will need to be discontinued.
  • Arrange for a friend or loved one to drive you home after your procedure.

During Surgery

  • The procedure takes 1-2 hours and is performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation.
  • Your surgeon will make a horizontal incision within the armpit crease, usually 4-5cm long. This will be closed with dissolvable sutures.
  • Excess fat is removed through liposuction or directly excised.
  • Loose, excess skin is trimmed away and remaining tissue tightened internally with sutures.
  • Drains may be placed temporarily to prevent fluid buildup.
  • Your arms will be dressed and possibly wrapped in a compression garment.

Recovery in Hospital and at Home

  • You may stay overnight in the hospital or surgical center after surgery.
  • Keep dressings clean and dry until given approval to shower, around 2-3 days.
  • Take prescribed pain medication as directed. Discomfort, tightness, and swelling are normal.
  • Wear your compression garment continuously for 2-6 weeks, per your surgeon’s instructions.
  • Keep your arms elevated on pillows to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid strenuous activity for 4-6 weeks.
  • Most patients can resume desk work within 7-10 days.
  • Bruising and swelling continue to subside over 6-8 weeks.
  • Scars will continue maturing for 6-12 months.

What Results Can I Expect From Transaxillary Brachioplasty?

A woman flexes her arm while holding a measuring tape.

Once healed, the armpit incision used is very discreet and hides well on the inner arm. You can expect:

  • Smoother, tighter, more toned-appearing upper arms
  • Removal of sagging or loose hanging arm skin
  • A more defined, contoured arm profile
  • Permanent results as long as your weight remains stable

However, a brachioplasty does not replace the need for strength training to add muscle definition. It removes excess fat and skin only. Adding muscle tone later can further improve arm appearance.

Scarring with a transaxillary approach is minimal. The thin scar matures and fades within 1 year in most patients. Some techniques use an internal stitch to close the incision, leaving virtually no visible scar.

Are There any Risks or Complications?

As with any surgery, there are some risks to consider:

  • Bleeding, bruising, fluid buildup
  • Infection
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Skin discoloration along the incision line
  • Asymmetry or irregularities in contour
  • Numbness, nerve damage, or sensitivity changes
  • Scarring that is raised or discolored
  • Loosening of the skin over time with weight fluctuations

Choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon can help minimize risks. Be sure to follow all pre- and post-operative instructions they provide for optimal safety and results.

How is Transaxillary Brachioplasty Different From Other Arm Lift Techniques?

There are a few other approaches for brachioplasty besides the transaxillary technique:

  • Traditional Brachioplasty: Uses an incision running vertically along the entire inner arm, allowing for maximum skin removal. This leaves a more visible scar but addresses very severe laxity.
  • Extended Brachioplasty: Incision runs from armpit to elbow, then continues diagonally into the side of the chest. Improves upper arms and side “back fat.”
  • Mini Brachioplasty: Best for mild laxity focused on the upper arms. Uses a short scar limited to just the armpit region.

Your surgeon will evaluate your anatomy and recommend the best scar placement to address your concerns while limiting visible scarring. The transaxillary approach offers a good balance for moderate skin laxity.

How Much Does Transaxillary Brachioplasty Cost?

Costs for a transaxillary brachioplasty typically range from $4,000 – $8,000 depending on the surgeon’s fees, extent of correction needed, anesthesiology costs, and surgical center charges.

Health insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures like arm lifts. However, patients with arm skin laxity following bariatric surgery may qualify for insurance coverage since it is considered reconstructive in those cases.

During your consultation, your surgeon can provide a cost estimate tailored to your specific needs. Many offer financing options to budget procedures affordably.

Combining multiple body contouring surgeries into a mommy makeover can also help reduce costs compared to undergoing them separately.

Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon

A woman displaying her arm

Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in brachioplasty techniques is vital for safe, beautiful results. When researching surgeons:

  • Verify their board certification through the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
  • Look at before and after transaxillary brachioplasty photos to evaluate their aesthetic skills.
  • Read reviews from past patients.
  • Meet with 2-3 surgeons before deciding so you can make the most informed choice.
  • Ask about their surgical volumes, training, and experience with various brachioplasty techniques to determine the best fit.

An experienced plastic surgeon will conduct a thorough evaluation and make treatment recommendations tailored to your anatomy for the most successful outcome possible.

Conclusion: Consider Transaxillary Brachioplasty for Discreet Arm Rejuvenation

For those struggling with loose arm skin that does not respond to diet, exercise, or minimally invasive treatments, transaxillary brachioplasty is an option that produces discreet results.

This technique performed through the armpit removes unwanted tissue and creates smooth, toned-looking arms. Recovery takes several weeks, and some swelling persists for 2 months.

But once healed, results are dramatic and long-lasting with a well-concealed incision site. By selecting an expert, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, you can safely rejuvenate your arms and boost your confidence.