Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Arm Lift (Brachioplasty):


An arm lift involves tightening loose skin, usually by surgery, to remove the surplus. If there is surplus fat, liposuction will not only remove fat but also shrink the skin to some degree.

Currently, non-surgical treatments will improve minor wrinkles, but not make a significant difference to sagging skin. Therefore surgical treatment is the most effective way to lift the arm.

The choice of procedure depends on the exact problem but will involve either liposuction, skin excision or both. Both liposuction and surgical arm lift (Brachioplasty) are carried out as day cases usually under General Anaesthesia. The version we use is called TIVA (Total IntraVenous Anaesthesia) and allows you to get home quickly without sickness. Occasionally patients opt for local anaesthesia.

Where the problem is the size of the arm, then liposuction is perfect. There is bruising for up to 3 weeks after which you can happily wear short sleeves, and an end results at about 3 months. Scars are insignificant.

Loose sagging skin, the well-known Bat Wings, is more common in older people with inelastic skin. Brachioplasty(Arm Lift) is the answer. Skin is excised from along the upper arm and up into the armpit (axilla). Occasionally this excision is extended further into the upper breast. Scars are carefully placed to be less obvious along the back edge of the inner side of the arm. Scars will be red at first and you might consider Cadogan scar management to speed the process of maturation. Eventually, the scars become pale and not easily seen. Beware of surgeons who offer to keep scars confined to the armpit, claiming to pull up the skin like a sock. It does not work as most of the surplus is circumferential.


Who is a good candidate for breast augmentation?

In general, Arm lift candidates include:

  • Adults with significant upper arm skin laxity
  • Adults of any age whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight
  • Healthy individuals without medical conditions that impair healing or increase risk of surgery
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic




Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during arm lift surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.


Step 2 – The incision

Incision length and pattern during arm lift surgery depend on the amount and location of excess skin to be removed, as well as the best judgment of your plastic surgeon.

Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm, depending on the surgeon’s preference, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. Excess fat may be directly excised or treated with liposuction.

Depending on your specific condition, incisions may be more limited. Then, underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm.


Inner arm incision
Back of arm incision
Minimal incision


Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Your incisions will be closed either with absorbable sutures or stitches that will be removed within one to two weeks following your arm lift.


Preparation and Recovery:


You may be asked to:

  • Get a blood test
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs as they can increase bleeding
  • Stop taking recreational drugs, such as cocaine

Arm lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, ambulatory surgical center or a hospital. This is for your safety.


After the procedure, you will recover in the capable hands of our aftercare team. As we are a day-case facility you can expect your recovery to be complete within 2 to 3 hours. If your surgeon is happy with your results, you will be able to be discharged from the Clinic the very same day. In some cases, patients may wish to stay locally in our exclusive partner hotel the day before or after your procedure in order to be close to their surgeon. Talk to us about these options if this is for you.

While you recover from surgery, you might need to wear a compression garment to control swelling. Your doctor might also insert a temporary drainage tube in your arm to drain any fluid or blood that builds up after surgery.

Your doctor will give you postoperative care instructions to take home. These will cover how to take care of your wounds, which medications to take and when, warning signs to look for, and a timeline for follow-up appointments.

It’s important to also avoid smoking while you recover from an arm lift. Smoking slows down the healing process, which raises your risk of developing permanent scarring or infections.

You should be able to return to work or school and resume some activities within two weeks. Within six weeks, you should be able to return to your normal activity level. Tell your doctor about any pain or problems moving after the initial recovery period.

Risks and Complications:

Every surgical procedure has risks. Arm lift surgery risks include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Fluid accumulation (seroma)
  • Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels and muscles
  • Fatty tissue under the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Sutures may not absorb, but spontaneously surface through the skin, causing irritation, drainage and redness
  • Possible need for revisional surgery

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your operation. It is important that you address all your questions directly with us.



What medical conditions would make having an arm lift risky?

There are many conditions that make elective surgery, in general, and cosmetic surgery, in particular, more risky.

Brachioplasty should never be performed on someone who smokes. And, as for all elective plastic surgery procedures, all tobacco products (including vaping and nicotine gum and patches) should be stopped four to six weeks before surgery.

Patients with a history of connective tissue disorders (such as Elhers Danlos) may not be good candidates as the procedure involves extensive incisions, and these patients traditionally have a history of poor tissue quality as well as difficulties healing.

Similarly, patients on long-term oral steroids for medical conditions would not be good candidates for brachioplasty.

Will I need down time after Arm Lift Surgery?

If you have simply undergone Liposuction, you feel bruised and stiff, but there is no restriction on movement. It depends exactly what work you do and you might need a few quiet days. Any dressings can be removed in a couple of days or when they come loose, and stitches removed in a week.

If loose skin is removed in your arm lift, you will have some dissolving sutures and probably some permanent sutures to be removed in 7 to 14 days. Dressings vary, but any bulky ones can come off in a couple of days. You should exercise to maintain full movement of the shoulder and arms, but this need not be violent to stress the sutures. It is recommended that you take around two weeks off work depending on the kind of work you do, and for the first few days following your arm lift surgery, you may need a little extra love and care at home.

You may соntіnuе tо experience ѕоmе mіld, реrіоdіс dіѕсоmfоrt and ѕwеllіng durіng thіѕ tіmе, but ѕuсh fееlіngѕ аrе nоrmаl. Sеvеrе pain, bleeding or swelling should bе reported tо your surgeon.

Will there be scars left after surgery?

In a standard Arm Lift, there will be a scar from the armpit to the elbow inside of the arm but once this has healed after a couple of weeks you are able to have scar minimising treatments to help reduce its appearance effectively.