Who Is A Good Candidate For A Mini-Armlift?

Q: I am interested in getting just a mini-armlift. I can’t seem to find any plastic surgeons that say they have actually done one. I don;t think my arms are bad enough for a full armlift and I don’t want that scar anyway. I just need a little tightening in the upepr part of my arm.

A: Armlifts, known in plastic surgery as brachioplasty or upper arm reductions, are traditionally thought of as a long excision of skin and fat between the armpit (axilla) and the elbow. While this is tremendously effective for ‘bat wings’ after a lot of weight loss, those women with more minor degrees of upper arm sagging on not good candidates because the scar would be worse than the sagging arm problem. This leaves the alternative arm strategy to either liposuction alone or liposuction combined with some limited upper arm skin removal, known as the limited brachioplasty or mini-armlift.

In the mini-armlift, the removal of skin for tightening is restricted to the upper 1/3 of the arm or just that of the armpit area only. (crescent-shaped excision) It can be removed  staying inside the axillary skin folds or be extended somewhat further out onto the upper third of the arm. That scar can be placed on the inside of the upper arm or from the backside. The scars end up in different locations and there may be advantages either way for each patient. I have done the skin removal from both upper arm locations successfully and each patient must carefully consider their preference for scar location. While the skin removal adds an obvious tightening effect, the aggressive use of liposuction is really the mainstay of the procedure and is responsible for much of the result.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana