Yep, we all hate ’em. Those flabby upper arms. You wave goodbye to someone, and your arm is still waving five minutes later. While toning the triceps muscle at the back of the arm can certainly help, it won’t get rid of the extra skin that shows up after weight loss, or with a certain amount of extra years. So what will?
As is often the case, there are some non-surgical options. I’ve talked about SkinTyte in previous posts, as well as VASER Shape. What I didn’t mention is that they can be used on the upper arms to tighten extra skin. Do they work? The short answer is, not as well as surgery. But most patients can expect to see a modest improvement in skin tightness. As a brief review, both treatments use heat (SkinTyte derives its heat from a high-energy light source, and VASER from ultrasound) to cause collagen remodeling. This causes gradual skin tightening over 4-6 months.
If you have significant extra skin, then surgery is probably the better option. So how is an arm lift (brachioplasty) done? It’s pretty simple, really- the extra skin is removed, and the incision is closed up. This leaves a long scar, stretching from the armpit (axilla) to the elbow (nope- no fancy term for elbow. Sorry!) And that scar can get ugly- areas like the arms and legs usually heal with wide scars. It is hidden on the back of the arm, but it’s still not a pretty scar. The biggest risks of a brachioplasty are problems with healing- it is a long incision, after all- and arm numbness.
Despite the ugly scar, I think that patients who really need a brachioplasty do look better after the surgery. But if you’re unsure about that scar, it may be better to wait, or try a non-invasive option first. If you’d like to find out more information, check out the American Society of Plastic Surgery page on brachioplasty.