As we age our skin becomes thinner and less elastic, our muscles lose bulk and tone and the fatty tissue under the surface of the skin loses its volume. Along with these natural results of ageing, often weight gain and weight loss can often mean drooping or excess skin.
Sometimes referred to as ‘bat wings’, the sagging area under the upper arm can cause women to feel self conscious in clothes without sleeves. An arm lift is an ideal procedure if this is how you feel. Do not, however, have this procedure if your weight is unstable or if you are overweight. You should also not have this procedure if you have an ongoing infection of the sweat glands in the armpits. Unless you gain a significant amount of weight (10 kilograms or more), the results of an arm lift usually lasts a long time.
There will be a scar on the inside of your upper arm. It will heal and fade over time and become less visible.
It is important to discuss your expectations and the desired outcome with your surgeon before having this procedure.
An arm lift operation will take 2–3 hours and is performed in a hospital or clinic under general anaesthesia. An incision is made from the elbow to the armpit, allowing your doctor to remove excess skin and small fat deposits. The skin is then redraped and stitched together. The size and shape of your arms will change immediately and will continue to change after the swelling has diminished, usually after about 10–14 days. Your scars may take a year to fully fade, so make sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on scar healing treatments.
You should feel fine the day following your surgery as a result of the effects of anaesthesia, which will still be in your system. Your arms will be a little painful for 2–3 days following. Most women return to normal activities such as exercise in 3–4 weeks after the procedure.
Most arm lifts are performed on an outpatient basis, which means that you will probably go home a couple of hours after you’ve recovered from the effects of anaesthesia.
There are things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery to improve the experience.
This is something specific to the arm lift procedure that you can do:
There are also a number of things that you can do following any surgery.
Specific things to do after arm lift surgery:
As with any surgical procedures, there are risks involved in having an arm lift, and you should be fully aware of these before you consider surgery.
The best way to reduce risk is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in arm surgery who has performed the procedure many times.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery.
A specific complication that may occur after arm lift surgery:
Surgeon, anaesthetist and hospital costs will vary, however a rough indication on how much this procedure usually costs is somewhere between $5000 and $7,000 (AUD).
You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.
This information is correct as of 2017.