Arm Lift in Chicago

The popularity of sleeveless fashions, as well as an increased cultural emphasis on physical fitness, has led many people to want to address excess fat and skin in the upper arms. Board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Thomas Mustoe and Dr. Sammy Sinno perform brachioplasty, often called arm lift surgery, to help patients from Chicago, Illinois, recontour their upper arms. The result of this surgery is a harmonious, youthful-looking arm contour that gives patients a valuable boost of confidence.

To learn more about arm lift surgery in Chicago, request a consultation online with Dr. Mustoe or Sinno, board-certified plastic surgeons. Or you can call our office at (312) 788-2560 and one of our helpful staff members will schedule your appointment.

Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
 Before & After Photos

Case: 1 of 2
Case: 1 of 2

Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.

What Is Arm Lift Surgery?

An arm lift, technically called brachioplasty, reshapes and contours the upper arms by removing excess fat and skin.

What Causes the Arms To Have a Bat Wing Appearance?

Excess fat in the upper arms can contribute to a “bat wing” appearance, but our surgeons understand that fat is often not the sole culprit. For many patients, loose, sagging skin must also be addressed for a lasting, satisfying result. The causes of excess fat and skin in this area vary and may include:

  • Difficult to target. For many people, the upper arms are particularly resistant to diet and exercise adjustments, making it especially difficult to slim them selectively.
  • Genetics. Some people have a hereditary predisposition to accumulate fat and skin in the area despite overall fitness elsewhere.
  • Massive weight loss. It’s also common for patients who have undergone massive weight loss to be bothered by leftover skin and residual fat deposits.

Arm lift surgery is an excellent treatment for these concerns. However, it is not meant to replace healthy diet and exercise habits, and it’s not an appropriate option for patients who are significantly overweight.

Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno are authorities on the latest techniques for body contouring. They understand the unique nuances that distinguish each patient and develop a surgical approach that yields results that are natural-looking and harmonious with the rest of the patient’s body.

Where Is the Incision Placed?

A traditional arm lift involves an incision that extends from the armpit down toward the elbow. In patients with moderate to significant skin excess, our surgeons have found that by carefully placing the incision posteriorly toward the back of the inner arm, the hairline scar is unobtrusive in almost all arm positions and is better than the more common medial placement.

If excess fat is the primary concern and the skin is still relatively elastic (meaning it will “bounce back” into place), liposuction may be all that is needed to restore a smooth arm contour. Many patients benefit from both skin removal and liposuction. During the initial consultation, your surgeon carefully examines your arms and discusses his surgical plan with you.

What’s a Mini Arm Lift?

A mini arm lift, also called a limited brachioplasty, involves an incision limited to the underarm. This option is appropriate for patients with minimal upper arm laxity. It can give excellent results in selected patients when combined with upper arm liposuction.

Can I Combine Procedures?

In some cases, arm lift surgery may be combined with other body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck, for a more comprehensive result. This is especially beneficial for patients who have lost a lot of weight and are struggling with stretched skin in several areas.

What To Expect During Surgery

Arm lift surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you may return home on the day of surgery. Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno usually perform arm lifts using local anesthesia with sedation, but general anesthesia is also an option. Once you are fully anesthetized, your surgeon makes the incision he discussed with you during your consultation. He uses sophisticated techniques to reshape existing fat, remove extra skin, and then meticulously close the incisions, revealing a smoother, slimmer contour.  Immediately after surgery, your surgeon applies sterile dressings. Our surgeons do not use surgical drains with arm lift surgery.

Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno

Why Choose Dr. Mustoe & Dr. Sinno

Through extensive research and experience, Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno have developed several innovations that contribute to a better rhinoplasty procedure and result, characterized by:

  • Predictable, natural-looking outcomes
  • Use of local anesthesia with sedation
  • Shortened, more comfortable recovery
  • Minimal bruising
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How Long Does It Take To Recover After Arm Lift Surgery?

During the recuperation period, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions to facilitate proper healing. Although light activity, such as walking, is encouraged to reduce the risk of blood clots, our surgeons advise patients to avoid strenuous activities that could raise blood pressure or put unnecessary stress on the arms in the days immediately following surgery.

Depending on the type of job you have, you may be able to return to work in just a few days. If your work is physically demanding, your surgeon will create an adjusted timeline for you. Swelling and bruising are normal parts of the recuperation process and are manageable with good postsurgical care. Over time, incisions will heal and fade into flat, discreet scars. Maintaining healthy habits will help preserve your arm lift results indefinitely.

Arm Lift FAQ

Is arm lift surgery the best option to get rid of bat wings?

While mildly lax skin may be tightened with nonsurgical treatments, moderately or significantly loose skin needs to be surgically removed with an arm lift.

Will I have noticeable scars?

The scars from brachioplasty are typically not noticeable because Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno conceal the incisions in the armpit or along the back of the inner arm. They also use a meticulous technique when closing the incisions, so the scars are usually very thin once healed. It takes about 6 to 24 months for the scars to lighten completely.

Is the procedure painful?

Discomfort varies between patients and typically peaks in about 3 to 4 days, then fades within a week or two. Prescription pain medication is usually enough to help manage the discomfort during this initial stage. It is normal for the arms to look swollen and feel tight initially.

Is there a certain way I should sleep following an arm lift?

To minimize swelling, sleep on your back with arms slightly elevated with pillows for the first few weeks after surgery. Avoid sleeping on your side until cleared by your surgeon.

What should I wear after arm lift surgery?

Your surgeon may instruct you to wear special compression wraps for the first 4 weeks to minimize swelling and promote smooth contours.