Arm Lift


Nobody wants to be described as having “bat wings” unless they are, indeed, a bat. An arm lift or brachioplasty is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fat in the upper arms. This sagging may result from weight loss, aging, genetics or a combination of all three. An arm lift can not only allow you to finally wave at your neighbors without being embarrassed, but it will completely transform your entire body contour. Not to mention the positive impact that this procedure may have on your sense of self.

Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Van Natta is happy to offer his Indianapolis patients the option to improve the look of their upper arms with either a surgical arm lift or the more minimally invasive BodyTite. The right option for you is going to depend on your anatomy, goals and lifestyle.

Arm Lift Consultation

During your initial consultation, Dr. Van Natta will listen closely to what it is that bothers you about your arms. For many patients, there is significant embarrassment associated with the flapping skin under their arms. Next, he will perform a thorough physical exam to assess your skin tone and elasticity as well as the amount of excess fat, if any, in the area. Together, you will discuss the treatment option that is best for your individual needs.

A surgical arm lift is the ideal procedure for patients with a severe degree of skin laxity. Dr. Van Natta may or may not combine it with liposuction to address excess fat. The more minimally-invasive BodyTite procedure is best for patients who only exhibit a mild degree of skin laxity or looseness. In both cases, however, it’s important to know that this excess tissue in your arms cannot be improved with exercise. Muscle tone will never correct skin laxity above the muscle. This is true on the arms as well as anywhere else on the body.

Surgical Arm Lift & Scars

A surgical arm lift can be transformative, especially for patients who have undergone massive weight loss or who simply lost the genetic lottery when it comes to the upper arms. But it does leave a scar. This is the big tradeoff for slender looking arms. In order to remove the excess tissue, Dr. Van Natta will almost always need to make an incision from your armpit to your elbow. However, he does place the scar on the inside of the arm so it’s not visible when your arms are at your side.

Dr. Van Natta will be very honest with you during your initial consultation about the scar. Due to the location, these incision lines don’t always heal as nicely or smoothly as those on other parts of the body. But most patients who have lived with flappy arms are bothered enough by them that the scar is an acceptable trade off.

Arm Lift with BodyTite

Dr. Van Natta is a big believer in new innovations and technologies. He assesses them all, but only adopts the ones for his patients that truly work. BodyTite is a new, minimally invasive procedure that can tighten the skin, and reduce fat on the upper arms in patients who have only a mild degree of skin laxity. It is basically a probe that is inserted under the skin. The other end glides along the top of your skin. Radio frequency is passed between the two ends to safely heat your deep tissues. This not only melts fat, but also causes the skin to contract or tighten. Although it does leave a scar at the insertion point, it’s more akin to the scar left by liposuction, which becomes virtually invisible.

Recovery from an Arm Lift

The recovery from an arm lift is going to depend on the procedure. BodyTite is performed as an outpatient procedure in the office and requires little to no downtime. A surgical arm lift, on the other hand, is performed under general anesthesia, and takes about 90 minutes. You can go home the same day. There isn’t much pain associated with it, and the recovery is fairly easy. Most people return to their normal activities in a day or two.

You can expect to be bruised and/or swollen for the first couple of weeks. Although all of the swelling may take 3-6 months to fully subside, you will notice your new contour immediately. So, break out those summer tops.

To find out more about an arm lift with Dr. Bruce Van Natta at Meridian Plastic Surgeons in Indianapolis, contact us today or call (317) 575-0330 to schedule a consultation.