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Every plastic surgery procedure has numerous issues that every patient who is undergoing a procedure should know. These explanations are always on a consent form that you should read in detail before surgery. This consent form, while many perceive as strictly a legal protection for the doctor, is actually more intended to improve the understanding of the armlift procedure. The following is what Dr. Eppley discusses with his patients for this procedure. This list includes many, but not all,of the different outcomes from surgery. It should generate both a better understanding of the procedure and should answer any remaining questions that one would have.


The alternatives to arm lift surgery are liposuction to remove fat only (and hope the skin tightens) and non-surgical devices to shrink fat and tighten skin.


The goal of arm lift surgery is to reshape the circumference of the arms, making them smaller and less flabby on the triceps or backside of the arm area.. This is done cutting out loose skin and fat on the back of the arms from below the elbow to the armpit and, in some cases, below the armpit area as well.


The upper arms can only be downsized so much, which is limited by how much skin and fat can be removed and getting the excised area closed without too much tension.


The following are all likely to occur: temporary pain, swelling, and bruising of the arms, possible need for several days to a week of drain tubes after surgery, permanent scars along the inside or back of the arms, temporary or permanent numbness of the skin of the arms, and up to one month after surgery for complete healing.


Complications may include bleeding, infection, fluid accumulation (seroma) after drain removal, skin irregularities, poor scarring, incision separation after surgery (particularly close to the armpit), spitting of sutures for months after surgery, tightness of the arms, scar banding across the armpits and residual loose skin that may need further surgery to remove.


Additional or revisional surgery may needed to close open wounds or improve undesired scarring. These risks are not rare in arm lifts with the risk of the need for scar revision as most likely with a 5% to 10% likelihood. This may generate additional costs.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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