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Arm Lift Surgery - Losing the Wings and Gaining New Confidence


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Wings, flags, grandma arms, these are all familiar sayings to those with loose dangling skin of the upper arms.   It is not unusual to have a woman after massive weight loss complain about the redundant, excess skin and fat of their upper arms. There are, of course, many reasons why this loose skin of the arms develops.   It is primarily a factor related to weight loss, the aging process, and after massive weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery.   Aging is also a factor as it is with skin laxity of all areas of the body.  

The common complaint from people with heavy arms is that the skin dangles and creates an unsightly appearance.   Short sleeve shirts and blouses can no longer be worn since it can leave patients feeling embarrassed.  The solution to the problem is careful tailoring of the fat and loose skin.  This is done with a combination of judicious skin removal and liposuction.   Liposuction is an excellent tool that can be used to reduce the length of the incisions necessary to achieve a nicely contoured arm.  

Time, weight and gravity are very powerful forces that along with loss of skin elasticity help to create the problem.  Once the skin becomes overstretched it is difficult for it to retract even after substantial weight loss.  Over time this tissue loses its natural ability to contour and continues to pull in a downward direction.   

Once stretch marks or thinned atrophic skin becomes apparent it is usually too late to improve the shape in this area.  Exercise, while suggested and highly beneficial will only tone the underlying muscle and will not help with the sagging skin.  Surgery, in some form, is all that can be done to get any type of improvement.    A good candidate for the procedure has loose skin of the arms as well as realistic expectations of what the procedure can accomplish.  

A good candidate for an arm lift has loose skin of the upper arms.   A line drawn between the biceps and triceps muscles on the inner aspect of the upper arm becomes the dividing point.  If there is more than 50% of the distance below the line then a surgical arm lift is indicated.  If there is less than a 50/50 distance then liposuction may be a good option. A consultation will help determine which operation will be best based on individual anatomy.  .

 An Arm Lift is usually performed under general anesthesia. Before surgery, the amount of skin and fat to be removed will be estimated and marked out on the skin.  It is important to carefully delineate the skin and tissue to be removed.  On some patients the skin excision will be a large ellipse on the inner aspect of the upper arms.   Some of the newer techniques in arm lifts can be done with incisions only in the arm pit.   Of course the more inconspicuous the scar the easier it is to hide with regular clothing

 The result of a properly performed arm lift is a beautifully contoured and aesthetically pleasing arm shape.  The skin will be tightened to help restore a more youthful contour.   After the procedure most patients comment on their renewed sense of self-image and self-confidence.

To best understand all of your options, a full consultation with a plastic surgeon is recommended. offers a natural looking result. If you are planning a cosmetic surgical procedure in Atlanta Georgia consult Dr. Jeff Zwiren. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society for Plastic Surgery.


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