Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

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A brachioplasty, otherwise known as an arm lift, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces sagging and drooping arm skin, tightens and smooths the supporting tissue of the upper arm, and reduces the pockets of fat in the upper arm. Changes in weight, aging, and heredity can cause the arms to have a drooping or sagging appearance that cannot be corrected through exercise.1

Arm Lift Procedure

Arm lift surgery is a plastic surgery body contouring procedure that removes excess skin from the upper arm and is performed by our talented group of board-certified and board-eligible plastic surgeons in an outpatient setting at our state-of-the-art surgical facility.

Undergoing plastic surgery procedures such as a brachioplasty require preparation, such as not smoking or stopping blood-thinning medications 3-4 weeks pre-surgery. We generally perform brachioplasty under IV sedation. After sedation but before the surgery begins, the surgeon carefully marks the incision sites on the inside of the arm so the scars will be as discreet as possible.

During a brachioplasty the surgeon makes an incision on the inside or back of the arm, eliminates excess fat with liposuction if necessary, and creates new contour by tightening and shaping the underlying supportive tissue with internal sutures. Finally, the surgeon smooths the skin around the new shape of the arm. Some patients only desiring a moderate adjustment may be candidates for a minimal armpit incision, though this depends on the state of the arms pre-surgery. Once the arm lift is complete, the surgeon will close the incision either with dissolving sutures or stitches that will be manually removed one to two weeks post-surgery.

Benefits of Brachioplasty

The procedure can:

  • Elimate drooping or sagging arm skin
  • Make you appear thinner
  • Give your arms an improved appearance
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Candidates For Brachioplasty

Good candidates for arm lift surgery are typically those who have concerns with extra skin in the upper arm area. Sometimes these individuals have a significant amount of excess skin due to weight loss, while others seek out cosmetic surgery for the underarm to remove or tighten loose skin that has lost elasticity due to aging. If you are considering brachioplasty, you should be at a stable weight, in general good health, and have realistic expectations.2

Before Brachioplasty

Prior to your brachioplasty procedure, it’s important that you discuss your medical history and any pre-existing medical conditions with your surgeon.3 Patients should also refrain from taking any blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, in the 48 hours leading up to surgery.

Brachioplasty Recovery

Many patients can see the results of the procedure immediately after surgery, though some may have to wait until the swelling and bruising recede to see results. During recovery, dressings or bandages may be applied to the incisions, and the arms are wrapped in an elastic bandage or compression garment to minimize postoperative swelling. In some cases, a drainage tube will be placed temporarily under the skin to drain excess blood and fluids. Full recovery typically takes 6-9 weeks, and most patients take at least 2-3 weeks away from work and heavy lifting. After 3 weeks, most patients can return to normal activities.

Trused Source Icon - Checkbox Sources

1 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What is an arm lift? Available at: Accessed February 25, 2021.
2 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Who is a good candidate for arm lift surgery? Available at: Accessed February 25, 2021.
3 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. How should I prepare for arm lift surgery? Available at: Accessed February 25, 2021.

The Doctors at My Houston Surgeons have either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Page last updated:


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