Introducing Dr. Nichole Joslyn: Welcome to Our Practice!

Hanging skin on the upper arms combined with a loss of tone are concerns that frequently occur after major weight loss or simply from the natural aging process. This loose skin is sometimes accompanied by fatty deposits, which often lead to a lack of definition. Dr. Tiffany McCormack and Dr. Nichole Joslyn perform an arm lift at Reno Tahoe Plastic Surgery to help patients restore a smoother, leaner contour in the treated areas.

An arm lift, medically termed a brachioplasty, is a procedure that is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon to remove excess skin in the upper arms and restore a more youthful, defined appearance. This cosmetic surgery is often pursued after significant weight loss, as the skin can lose the ability to contract around a patient’s new arm shape after fat is shed — a factor known as skin elasticity. For individuals with good skin elasticity, minimal skin sagging, and disproportionate amounts of fat, liposuction is another body contouring procedure that can be a good alternative to an arm lift. An arm lift and liposuction are also commonly performed together for comprehensive improvement in the upper arms.

What are the Benefits of an Arm Lift?

Depending on your surgical goals, an arm lift can be an exceptional way to achieve a smoother, firmer, and tauter arm appearance. In general, a brachioplasty procedure can:

  • Eliminate loose or hanging skin in the upper arms
  • Pull remaining skin taut
  • Tighten the structures that define the arm shape

Who is a Good Candidate for Arm Lift Surgery?

In most cases, the best candidates for an arm lift are healthy individuals who do not have any uncontrolled medical conditions or future plans for significant weight loss. Prospective patients should also be concerned with excess skin in the upper arms and desire a smoother, more defined arm appearance. Dr. McCormack will fully assess your medical history and cosmetic goals during a consultation to help you determine whether brachioplasty is the best procedure to meet your needs.

How is the Arm Lift Procedure Performed?

Performed by Dr. McCormack, the arm lift procedure takes between two to three hours. Excess skin is removed and some liposuction is commonly performed as well. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures. A scar is placed along the length of the upper inner arm and is hidden whenever your arms are by your side. Often, a drain tube is left in each arm. Each patient is placed in a compression garment to help minimize swelling.

Patient Results
View Gallery

What is Arm Lift Recovery Like?

The arms remain swollen for several weeks following the procedure. You will be seen in the office two to three days after your surgery to remove dressings and, possibly, drains. You should refrain from lifting anything greater than 15 pounds for six weeks after surgery. Most patients are able to return to work in about one week. The scars will not disappear completely, though they will begin to fade within two to three months and reach their final appearance in one to two years. It is important that these scars are not exposed to sun while they are still red, as this may lead to skin darkening or pigmentation. If sun exposure is unavoidable, a sun block of 15 SPF or higher should be applied.

How Long Will Arm Lift Results Last?

The natural aging process will continue, but arm lift results are designed to last indefinitely. While the skin may naturally grow less elastic over time, patients are generally able to enjoy their newly defined arm shape for a lifetime. In the interest of maximizing your results, Dr. McCormack advises maintaining a stable weight to reduce stubborn fat buildup. Since pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weight gain tend to stretch the skin and change the body contours, postponing the procedure until after you’ve completed your family can preserve the integrity of the final outcome.

Will I Have Noticeable Arm Lift Scars?

The incision for brachioplasty is generally made along the inside of the arm, from the underarm to the inner elbow. Depending on your needs, a shorter incision may be possible. Dr. McCormack will examine your concerns and discuss the best approach for you during your consultation. When the arms are at their sides, scarring is usually hidden from outside observers. Patients are often so pleased with their body sculpting results, they don’t mind the scar left from arm lift surgery. Dr. McCormack will also show you where your scars are likely to appear so you know what to expect before your procedure.

Good aftercare during the recovery period should help incisions heal as optimally as possible. In turn, this can increase the chances of post-arm lift scars lightening to some extent over time — especially when physician-grade skin care products are consistently applied.

How Much Does an Arm Lift Cost?

Like all surgical procedures, the price of an arm lift is unique to each patient’s individual needs and personalized treatment plan. With this in mind, our practice understands that cost is a primary consideration with any cosmetic surgery. While a true cost estimation of your procedure cannot be determined until your consultation, the price will include the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia fees, lab fees, post-operative fees, and other standard expenses. Our office can provide you with a more accurate quote after your consultation.

To provide a better understanding of how the cost is calculated, common factors that generally affect the price of an arm lift include:

Our practice accepts a variety of payment methods as well as financing options for individuals who prefer to pay for their treatment over time. Payment plans from highly reputable plastic surgery financing companies, such as CareCredit®, Alphaeon Credit, and Prosper® Healthcare Lending, offer patients affordable monthly installments with low- to no-interest rates for qualified applicants. Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team for more information on our accepted modes of payment.

Is a Non-Surgical Arm Lift Possible?

While the exact results of brachioplasty are not possible without surgery, patients can still improve their arm shape through non-surgical treatments like CoolSculpting® Elite. Using controlled cooling and non-invasive techniques, CoolSculpting® Elite can help destroy fat cells in the upper arms and shed stubborn fat. Once the targeted fat is metabolized through natural body processes, the skin should naturally conform to your new, slimmer arm shape. That said, CoolSculpting® Elite can only reduce arm fat by up to 30 percent — often after multiple sessions — so this non-surgical treatment does have its limitations. Furthermore, non-invasive technologies cannot repair sagging skin or a loss of support caused by weakened musculature. We encourage you to browse our CoolSculpting® Elite before-and-after photos to see examples of the results possible with non-invasive body contouring.

Are There Arm Lift Alternatives?

An arm lift primarily focuses on treating excess skin and loose musculature to resculpt the upper arm, but you may benefit from another procedure if your main concern is fat buildup. Excess fat often accumulates in the upper arms, creating a hanging look commonly referred to as “bat wings.” Liposuction can be an excellent alternative to arm lift surgery for patients who only have mild skin laxity, or who cannot achieve a tightened arm shape due to excess fat deposits. This offers a relatively less invasive treatment than brachioplasty, giving patients the benefit of a shorter recovery period when compared to arm lift surgery. However, liposuction may not provide the desired results if patients do not have adequate skin tone to achieve their goals. Rest assured that Dr. McCormack will create the best treatment plan for your needs based on your unique concerns.

Request an Appointment
Let’s Connect