An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure
in which the skin of the inner arm is excised and repaired.
The procedure is performed when extra skin rather than
fat is the underlying problem. Also, if the skin has
poor elasticity and will not contract with conventional
liposculpture then brachioplasty is indicated. This
procedure can lift and tighten up loose skin in the
upper arms, resulting in a firmer, more youthful contour.
The effects of aging over time change the skin resulting
in a loss in thickness, elasticity and adherence to
the underlying tissue. In addition, the deep layers
of fat, muscle and bone thin as well. One area where
both men and women notice these changes is the upper
An arm lift is usually not suitable for women who have
had a mastectomy. The drainage of fluid from the arm
may be damaged and further surgery can lead to persistent
swelling. People who have repeated infections in the
armpit, or suffer from excess sweat formation (axillary
hidradenitis), should consider liposuction as the cosmetic
procedure of choice in reducing the thickness of the
How is arm lift surgery performed?
The surgeon begins by marking the area of excess skin
to be treated. Incisions are made on the inner and under
surface of the arm. The pattern of skin removal usually
follows an elliptical or triangular shape. The surgical
opening may run from the armpit to as low as the elbow.
If desired, fat may be suctioned at this time. The remaining
skin is stretched and sutured (stitched) into place.
A drain may be placed to extract excess fluids from
the incision site. This will allow for enhanced adherence
of the skin and underlying tissue. The incisions are
How long does an arm lift surgery take?
An arm lift is generally completed in approximately
What type of anesthesia is used?
An arm lift is usually performed using local anesthesia
along with a light sedative to make you feel drowsy
and relaxed. General anesthesia may also be used, causing
you to be asleep during the whole procedure.
Where is the procedure performed?
This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient
basis, in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite,
an outpatient surgery center or hospital.
When can I return home and
resume normal activities?
After a brief stay in the recovery room, you will be
allowed to go home. If general anesthesia is used, you
should arrange for someone to drive you home and assist
you with your daily activities during your recovery
period. Normal activities may be resumed in approximately
one to two weeks.
How do I prepare for arm lift surgery procedure?
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will
discuss the changes that you would like to make to your
appearance. Since the appearance of your arm is a matter
of personal perception and preference, you will need
to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can
determine the appropriate alternatives. An arm lift
procedure does not affect muscle tone, therefore, you
should speak with your surgeon about how to tone and
firm the muscle beneath the skin both before and after
your procedure. You also should make arrangements ahead
of time for someone to drive you to and from your procedure
and to assist you with your daily activities during
your recovery period.
Prior to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will
perform a complete health history and physical. Knowledge
of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries
should be brought to your surgeon's attention at this
time. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing
for this procedure will be given to you after the health
history and physical is complete. Depending on your
individual health status, the instructions may include
guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking
and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience
will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your
What precautions are necessary during recovery?
While each person's recovery is unique, the recovery
period after an arm lift generally lasts one to two
weeks. For the first week following surgery, you will
have to avoid strenuous activity, including bending
and lifting. You will probably be able to return to
work in a week and resume exercise within two weeks.
Strenuous workouts and contact sports can be engaged
in after about four weeks. Your surgeon will remove
any stitches that are not absorbed after about one week.
Please ask your surgeon for after care instructions
specific to your case, as these will assist you during
your recovery period.
What are the possible complications after
arm lift surgery?
The most common risks associated with this type of
surgery include, but are not limited to, a reaction
to the anesthesia used, excessive bleeding, infection,
visible scarring, asymmetry or irregularities, and changes
in nerve sensation. No procedure is without risks; however,
the majority of complications known to be associated
with an arm lift are minor when the procedure is performed
by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. It
is always important to be informed about the possible
complications before any surgery. Be sure to discuss
any concerns you may have with your surgeon.
What results can I expect after arm lift
Your arm will be placed in a special compression garment
to help the newly sculpted skin adhere to the tissue
underneath. You will probably have several layers of
stitches on the upper arm. A drain may be inserted to
help the skin to adhere to the underlying tissue. The
stitches may be absorbed or removed by your surgeon
during your follow-up visit.
Please note that the natural aging process will eventually
affect the whole body, including the area treated in
this procedure. The contouring effects of arm lifts
are typically long lasting, and most people are very
pleased with the appearance of balance and proportion
in the contour of the arm.
Choosing the right surgeon
To obtain further information regarding arm lift surgery,
we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced
board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the type
of procedure you are considering, it is crucial to choose
the right surgeon for your individual goals. To receive
a complimentary consultation with a specialist in your
area, simply fill out our Online Referral
Form or call Toll Free 800.449.1884.