For The Arms – Lipo vs. Brachioplasty

There are two options for correcting the appearance of larger arms: brachioplasty and liposuction of the arms. The two are very different and create different results, as well as care after the procedures. So it is important to know which is right for you.

Brachioplasty. also know as an arm lift, is the excision of access skin. This is an attractive procedure for patients who have loose skin on the arms, often referred to as bat wings, after weight loss. Think of it as a deflated balloon. When a balloon is stretched to capacity after being filled with air and the air is releases, ripples occur in the skin of the balloon making the after effects of stretching very visible. This is what sometimes happen to skin after weightless. A brachioplasty can correct this, and results of this procedure are often very accurate for achieving the patients’ desired look as physicians are able to contour the arms to give you a nice shape. However, scarring, which appears along the anterior of the arm from armpit to elbow after the procedure, is rarely appealing.

If scarring is a concern, liposuction may be a better option as there is no appearance of scars. However, best results of this procedure occur in patients who have full arms, and only want to remove access tissue, not excess skin. In fact, in some cases, it may cause the appearance of extra skin. You can apply the balloon analogy here as well. When the body is deflated from the removal of tissue after liposuction, the appearance of stretch marks and access skin can appear. so this may not be ideal for patients whose skin does not have good elasticity.

With a brachioplasty, mobility of the arms is very limited. The arms will be wrapped tightly and you’ll be wearing compression garments for 4-6 weeks after the procedure. While minimal activity, such as walking, is suggested after 1-2 weeks post-op, exercise and other strenuous activities are not permitted for weeks.

Liposuction will not put you out of commission as long as a brachioplasty would. You’ll be back to normal activity days after the procedure. Pain usually absolves after one week, however, swelling can occur for weeks after.

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