Arm lift surgery, known as brachioplasty, is a cosmetic procedure intended to reveal a more toned and tightened upper arm appearance. The purpose of arm lift surgery is to remove excess skin and other soft tissue from the upper arm, most commonly along the inner part of the arm between the elbow and armpit. The surgeon is able to create a shapelier and toned contour by tightening the soft tissue structures and re-draping the skin.

Arm lift surgery is popular because it offers a solution to a very common trouble spot amongst many individuals, particularly women.

Goals of Arm Lift Surgery

  • Reduction of sagging skin in the upper arm
  • Tightening and smoothing of underlying soft tissue structures
  • Reduction of localized fat pockets in the upper arm
  • Defining the shape of the upper arm

Weight fluctuations, aging and heredity can contribute to upper arms having a drooping or sagging appearance. With aging, soft tissues of the upper arm can become lax and start to droop or sag. A common complaint for individuals who seek an arm lift is that they feel uncomfortable waving their arms, because the tissue of their upper arms wave back and forth. This condition is typically a result of loose skin with poor elasticity and fat accumulation.

Unfortunately, toning the muscles of the upper arms will only help to a certain extent. The skin cannot be tightened with exercise. Arm lift surgery may be indicated if the underside of the upper arms sag and appear full due to excess skin and fat.

Arm lift surgeries have risen in popularity as obesity related surgeries have increased. When an individual loses a significant amount of weight, he or she is left with loose skin in the area of fat loss. With fat accumulation in the arms, the skin is stretched to accommodate the increased girth of the arm. Unfortunately, when the individual loses weight and the fat is lost, the skin may not have the elasticity to bounce back, appearing loose and sagging. Many people seek an arm lift surgery to restore a more slim, youthful and toned appearance of the upper arm, truly revealing their weight loss success.

What to Expect

An arm lift surgery begins with an individualized consultation in which the patient will discuss his or her concerns and desired outcomes. The surgeon will perform a physical examination and determine the best course of treatment. During the arm lift procedure, the patient is given general anesthesia to ensure patient safety and comfort. The arm lift procedure takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Recovery will include reduced activity for 2-3 weeks, in order to allow for proper healing of the involved structures.

After the procedure, dressings or bandages are applied over the incisions. The arms are wrapped in an elastic bandage or compression garment in order to reduce swelling and support the soft tissue structures during healing. A drain, which is a thin tube, may be placed under the skin in order to remove any excess blood or fluid. Patients should expect to experience some bruising and mild discomfort over the first several days. However, discomfort can be controlled with pain medications and rest.