Plastic surgeons James Knoetgen, III, MD and Steven Moran, MD, at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn, report that an arm lift (brachioplasty) generally entails low risk. However they estimate that minor complications arise in 25% of all cases.

Of the 40 brachioplasty patients they studied, the types of complications included fluid collection under the skin (four patients), poor scarring (four), skin infection (three), abscesses under the skin (one), and wound separation (three). Nerve injuries occurred in two of the patients; prolonged numbness of one forearm and hand occurred in one patient; and one patient developed pain in one forearm and hand. Furthermore, five patients had parts of their arms revised, four needed to make changes in their skin appearance, and one needed arm liposuction.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that more than 9,000 arm lift procedures were performed in 2004. Of these arm lifts, 4% were performed on males and 96% on females.

Nationwide, the average cost of an arm lift is $3,000, not including additional costs. While arm lift surgery is not usually covered by health insurance, most plastic surgeons have payment options available to make it more financially feasible for patients.

[www.healthcentral.com, May 9, 2006]