Arm Lift Q&A

Q: What is the difference between brachioplasty (arm lift), smart liposuction, laser liposuction and tumescent liposuction of the arm?

    A: All forms of liposuction will remove fat- NOT excess skin. Some tightening of the skin can occur after laser liposuction, but this tightening is relatively modest. All liposuction procedures are best performed in patients who have minimal excess skin. If there is excessive skin, liposuction in addition to excision of the excess skin is required. The combination of one of the liposuction techniques with surgical excision of excess skin is called brachioplasty-or the arm lift procedure.

Q: How long does brachioplasty take compared to liposuction of the arms?

    A: Liposuction of the arms takes about 60-90 minutes, depending on the amount of fat that needs to be removed- and can be performed on a wide awake patient without sedation. Patients who prefer sedation, may be given mild sedation by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist. Patients who have liposuction while wide awake, can drive themselves home without assistance. Patients who requests sedation need to be driven home by friend or family-or can be driven home by one of our staff.

    Brachioplasty requires about 3-4 hours in the operating room. About 90 minutes is required for extensive liposuction. The remaining time is spent removing the extra skin and closing in layers.

Q: What is the down time for brachioplasty versus liposuction?

    A: When only a modest amount of fat is removed, and the patient is wide awake, recovery after liposuction is immediate and the patient can walk right out of the office and drive themselves home.
    Liposuction, that requires sedation and/or the removal of a lot of fat may require 1-2 hours of post anesthesia recovery, until the sedation wears off. Although patients who wake up after sedation, feel awake enough to drive themselves home, we always ask that they be driven home by friends or family.

Q: Is there a lot of bruising with liposuction?

    A: When only a modest amount of liposuction is required, and the procedure is performed while awake, bruising is minimal. These patients can go back to work the same day without any evidence of surgery. More extensive liposuction can cause bruising that may last for days or weeks.

Q: How much bruising is there with brachioplasty?

    A: Usually the surgical excision per se creates minimal bruising. Most bruising following brachioplasty is about the same as for liposuction. However, when we know that we will be removing excess skin, the liposuction of the arms is a lot more extensive because we are no longer concerned about creating excessive skin sagging. In fact, once we are committed to surgically removing excess skin, we want our liposuction to create as much extra skin as possible. In contrast if we are planning liposuction alone, we cannot be as aggressive out of concern that we would create excess flabby skin.