Whether you’re looking for a dress or a top, it seems that sleeveless styles rule the day. But not everyone has arms they want to show off in a tank top or sleeveless dress. If you have bat wings, or excess skin under the upper arms, you might find yourself scrambling for a cardigan to wear over your dress or top, no matter how hot or humid it is outside.
That bat-wing look is due to excess skin in the upper arm area. You can develop excess skin simply as part of the aging process or if you’ve lost a lot of weight throughout your body. No matter how much you work out or how many weights you lift, the extra skin won’t go away. Fortunately, an upper arm lift can help give you the toned, slim-looking arms you want.
What Is an Arm Lift?
Arm lift procedures vary based on the amount of excess skin and fat a patient has. If there is just a small amount of extra skin and not a lot of excess fat, a limited incision arm lift might be the best option for you. A standard arm lift is usually performed if the extra skin stretches from the under arm to the elbow. If you also have extra skin along the side of your body, an extended arm lift will take care of the skin and fat on the side of your chest and arm.
During the surgery, a patient is typically under general anesthesia. The procedure usually takes between one and three hours. After the surgeon has made the incision, which is usually either Y or S-shaped, he removes the extra skin. The incisions are then brought together and stitched. Scarring does occur after the procedure, but it is on the underside of the arm and generally doesn’t bother patients.
Who It’s For
An arm lift is often recommended for patients who have a lot of excess skin in the arm area, but not a lot of extra fat. It’s also recommended for patients who are at a normal, healthy weight, such as people who have successfully lost weight, either on their own or after gastric bypass. If you plan on losing a considerable amount of weight, it’s best to schedule the surgery after your weight loss.
The surgery is only recommended for people who are in relatively good health. Your surgeon will ask that you stop smoking at least two weeks before the procedure and for several weeks following it. During your consultation, the doctor will review your medical history and run some tests to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure.
If you’ve been eying that sleeveless dress and wanting to show off your arms in it, you’re not alone. Arm lift procedures have quickly risen in popularity in recent years. Between the year 2000 and 2012, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons noted a 4,378 percent jump in arm lift surgeries.
A number of reasons seem to be behind the jump in arm lift procedures. For one thing, it’s more common for clothing to be sleeveless than it was in the past. People are also inspired by the toned arms they see on TV or in magazines. Another reason for the increase in the surgery is due to gastric bypass surgery. After the surgery, people are likely to lose a considerable amount of weight, leaving them with excess skin in several areas.
An upper arm lift requires a considerable amount of extra skin to be effective. If you don’t have loose skin, there isn’t anything for the surgeon to lift.
Patients who are bothered by the shape or size of their arms but who don’t have that extra skin might be better candidates for liposuction of the arms, instead of a lift. In some cases, a patient might benefit from both an arm lift and liposuction. During liposuction, extra fat is removed from the area. Like an arm lift, the procedure is intended for people who are at an ideal weight and who have only a moderate amount of extra fat in the area.
There’s no need to suffer under a cardigan or shawl this summer. Let your arms be free. Drs. George Bitar and Robert Centeno at the Bitar Institute can answer any questions you have about arm lift surgery and whether it’s right for you. To schedule an appointment at their practice in the Washington, D.C., area, call (703) 206-0506 today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.