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What To Expect From An Arm Lift Surgery6 min read

Arm Lift
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Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Best of Loudoun 2019
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There are many downsides to getting older: wrinkles, sagging skin, droopy boobs, and crepey neck to name a few. And then there are “bingo wings”: the term given to the droopy, floppy skin on your upper arms. Also known as “bat wings,” they scream “I am getting older!” to the world and take away your confidence to wear sleeveless clothing.  Toddlers like to flap them back and forth and say things like “look it’s all jiggly” and then giggle to themselves. But it may not be funny to the person living with them. What’s worse is that diet and exercise doesn’t always get rid of them. So what else can be done to banish the flap?

There is a surgical procedure that can tighten the skin. The medical term for an arm lift is Brachioplasty. A surgeon will cut away the excess skin and if needed liposuction out fatty tissue. It is a very common procedure – just over 17,000 were performed in the US in 2018.

Who Is A Good Candidate?

This surgery would be a good fit for people who:

  • Are in good health
  • Don’t smoke
  • Aren’t obese
  • Are male or female
  • Are aware that there will be a scar that could be visible when wearing short sleeved clothing
  • Have lost a significant amount of weight and have excess skin

It is important to understand what the outcome will be with this type of surgery. People with lots of excess skin will likely have a scar that runs from their elbow to their armpit. Those with minimal excess skin will likely have a scar hidden under their armpit.

What Happens During The Procedure?

The surgery is performed as an out patient procedure in a hospital under general anesthesia. Just before, your surgeon will mark out the areas to be removed and talk you through the procedure. A brachioplasty can be performed with other procedures like liposuction to remove excess fat and can be combined with a tummy tuck or thigh lift. If you are having liposuction, this will be done first, then the excess skin will be cut away and the remaining skin pulled tight and stitched together. It can take a couple of hours to perform. You will be allowed to go home the same day – just make sure you have someone available to drive you.

She loves this band!

What Is The Recovery Period?

You will need to wear a compression wrap on your arm to help reduce the swelling and promote healing. This will be needed for up to four weeks after the surgery.

Exercise should be restricted for 5 days and then only light exercise for another 3 weeks.

You may need narcotic pain medication for the first few days. Do not drive while taking these and for 24 hours after your last dose.

It is recommended that you don’t drive for a week. The less you do with your arms the better.

Keep your arms elevated and rest! Let others look after you and your family. The more chance you give your body to heal, the quicker the healing.

Will the effects be instant?

There will be a lot of swelling and a compression wrap will be hiding your arms for the first few weeks. Scars will be red and raw for a while and fade to white after 12-18 months. Expect swelling and some numbness for around 6 months. Your arms may feel weak because of the forced rest but will strengthen as you begin to use them more.

So, patience is required to get the final results, but by six months you should have a good idea of how fantastic your arms will look. The surgery is long lasting too provided you maintain a healthy weight.

beach blond hair exercising

How painful Will It Be After Surgery?

All surgery carries a certain amount of pain. Arm lifts are on a lower pain scale than other cosmetic surgeries. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to get you through the first week. Try not to use your arms too much, elevate them for the swelling, and use pillows for comfort.

What Are The Costs?

The average cost of a arm lift is $4,500. If liposuction is involved or there is excess skin and a larger incision site is needed, the cost can go up to around $6,000. The qualifications and experience of the surgeon will also dictate costs, as will the hospital costs.

Is It Worth It?

Saggy upper arms can be a real self-confidence drainer. People avoid wearing anything revealing and in the hot months skin can become sore from rubbing. Bingo wings can really age you – there is a reason they are named after a popular game that is played by older people.

The scar may sound large and scary; but for the thousands of people who leave reviews about their procedures, it is a small price to pay for the relief they feel in getting tighter, slimmer arms. 

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If bingo wings are causing you problems and you don’t want your arms to jiggle when you wave,  we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate for Brachioplasty. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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