Brachioplasty, commonly referred to as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure that eliminates loose skin and excess fat located in the upper arms. Weight loss following bariatric surgery, years of sun exposure, the effects of aging and weight fluctuations can all contribute towards upper arms that have large amounts of loose, hanging skin. With arm lift surgery, patients can enjoy several aesthetic improvements, including:
• Slim, contoured upper arms
• Elimination of stubborn pockets of fat in the arms
• Increased definition of upper arm muscles
• Reduction of extra weight caused by excess skin
• Creation of a better-proportioned figure
It is completed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, varying on a patient to patient basis.
Once the excess fat has been removed, the surgeon will make an incision in the upper arms. Several types of incisions may be used, depending on the patient’s needs. All incisions are made on the inside of the arm, keeping scars out of sight while patients’ hands are by their sides.
The average brachioplasty surgery lasts between two and four hours.
Recovery and Results
Following brachioplasty surgery, patients will need to take one to two weeks off from work. Excessive arm movement and heavy lifting will need to be avoided for at least two to four weeks, at which point patients may gradually resume exercising. The incisions will take a few weeks to heal over completely.
Results are immediately noticeable, as the removed tissue will provide an instant improvement in upper arm contour. Final results will continue to develop as swelling subsides and the incisions heal.
Q&A with Dr. Shokrian
Am I a good candidate?
If you are a non-smoker, are in relatively good health, have loose skin and excess fat located in your upper arms, and are able to maintain a stable body weight, then you are a good candidate for brachioplasty. Patients interested in an arm lift should be within 25 pounds of their goal body weight, as future weight loss can lead to more excess skin. We will determine if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure after an in-person evaluation.
Can I drive following brachioplasty surgery?
You will need to wait several days or about one week before resuming driving. We ask that all patients arrange for someone to drive them home following surgery. Make sure you have a friend or family member ready to provide transportation while you continue to recover in the first couple of weeks.
How soon after a brachioplasty can I get my incisions wet?
You can take a shower once your surgical dressings have been removed, about 24 to 48 hours following surgery. We ask that patients wait two to four weeks before bathing or going swimming, as submerging the incisions in still water before they have healed can lead to infection.
Can brachioplasty be combined with other procedures?
Yes, brachioplasty is often one step of a comprehensive procedure toward total body rejuvenation. We regularly combine brachioplasty with tummy tucks, inner thigh lifts and other procedures. If you are interested in addressing multiple areas of concern, then let us know during your initial consultation and we will create an individualized treatment plan.
What kind of scarring can I expect?
Scarring is an unfortunately inevitable part of brachioplasty surgery. Brachioplasty incisions typically extend horizontally across the inner arm, spanning from the underarm toward the elbow. Your scars will be concealed with your arms by your sides or when wearing a long-sleeved shirt but may be visible should you expose your arms while wearing a swimsuit or other types of clothing.
How long do results from a brachioplasty procedure last?
Results following brachioplasty are lifelong. So long as you maintain a healthy body weight, you can expect to enjoy your slimmer arms well into the future. Further weight gain can stretch your skin, while weight loss can lead to the development of more loose skin.