A brachioplasty or an arm reduction / arm lift is a plastic surgical procedure that aims to remove excess skin and fat between the armpits and the elbows. It is appropriate for individuals who have a redundancy of soft tissue in this area, commonly known as ‘bingo wings’. This can occur with ageing. Individuals who have undergone significant weight loss can also present with excess skin and fat in this area and will benefit from a brachioplasty / arm reduction. It is important that potential patients are in good general health and that weight is stable for at least 6 months to a year.
Before & Afters
Frequently Asked Questions
A brachioplasty / arm reduction is usually performed as a day case procedure and takes approximately 2 hours to complete. You will be admitted on the day of surgery and the procedure is done under either a general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic and sedation. The excess skin and fat is removed through an incision on the the underside of the arm and the wound is stitched closed with dissolving sutures so there is no need to remove them. The procedure is commonly combined with liposuction to improve the overall outcome and reduce complications. You can usually go home the same day after your procedure although in some circumstances you may need to stay overnight in hospital.
There should be minimal post-operative pain which is easily controlled with oral pain killers. Full recovery usually takes between 4-6 weeks. During the recovery phase, you will be required to wear a compression garment to ensure an optimal outcome. Return to work will be dependent on the nature of your occupation and a return to exercise should be gradual. The scar quality from an arm reduction is generally good but requires 6-12 months to completely mature. During this period of maturation, the scars can be red and raised. Occasionally, scars can become lumpy and stretched which may require further treatment.
You will be seen a week after your surgery to check that all is healing well and again at 6 weeks and 6 months to ensure you are happy with the result.
A brachioplasty / arm reduction is a routine operation with good outcomes in the majority of patients however it is important to understand the risks and complications that can occur with a brachioplasty / arm reduction procedure
Scarring : You will have a scar that runs from your armpit to your elbow on the inside of your arm, similar in position to a shirt seam. Scars can be red and raised initially but mature over a period of 6-12 months, eventually turning white and fading. Occasionally scars can remain lumpy or stretched
Asymmetry : There may be some asymmetry with occasional dog ears at the end of the scars. This can be revised under local anaesthetic if it is a problem
Haematoma : Some patients may bleed and develop a haematoma after transfer back to the ward. If this occurs, a return to theatre will be required to control the bleeding. This usually does not affect the overall outcome from the surgery
Wound infection : During the healing process, wound problems such as infections may occur requiring antibiotics
Wound breakdown : Wound breakdowns are usually minor and can be managed simply with dressings. Larger wound breakdowns with skin loss are rare, but can be problematic and result in delayed healing and worse scarring
Seroma : Occasionally, fluid collections called seromas can occur which can simply be drained with a needle. These tend to be self-limiting and resolve spontaneously themselves
Numbness : Patients usually also have an area of altered sensation or numbness around the scar which usually returns after a few months but can also be permanent
General complications : A general anesthetic carries the risk of blood clots forming in the legs or lungs which are serious. Precautions such as blood thinning injections and compression stockings are used to reduce this risk.
Further information is available here in this Body Contouring guide