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Arm Lift

An arm lift, technically known as brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure aimed at addressing sagging underarms by reducing excess skin and fat between the underarm and the elbow, reshaping the arm to result in smoother skin and contours, and a more toned and proportionate appearance. This comprehensive guide delves into the aspects of the treatment, its applicability, and the procedural intricacies to offer a detailed insight into arm lift surgery.

Who Can Benefit from an Arm Lift?

The ideal candidates for an arm lift are individuals who have significant upper arm skin laxity, which is often a consequence of considerable weight loss, ageing, or genetic factors. These individuals are typically looking to improve the appearance of their arms when diet and exercise have not been effective in achieving the desired contour. Candidates should be in good overall health, non-smokers, or willing to quit smoking, as smoking can affect the healing process. It is also crucial for candidates to have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery.

The Treatment Process


The first step towards an arm lift is a thorough consultation with a plastic surgeon. During this session, the surgeon assesses the patient’s medical history, discusses their aesthetic goals, and evaluates the degree of skin laxity and fat deposits in the arms. This phase is critical for determining the most appropriate surgical approach and ensuring the patient’s expectations align with what can realistically be achieved.


Patients are usually advised to stop taking certain medications or supplements that can increase bleeding risk, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs. Smoking cessation is strongly recommended at least six weeks before and after surgery to facilitate better healing.

The Surgery

Performed under general anaesthesia, an arm lift typically takes two to three hours, depending on the extent of the surgery. The surgeon makes incisions on the inside or back of the arm, which may extend from the underarm to just above the elbow, depending on the amount of excess skin. Liposuction may also be employed to remove excess fat. The underlying supportive tissue is then tightened and reshaped with internal sutures, and the skin is smoothed over the new contour of the arm before the incisions are closed.


Post-surgery, patients may experience swelling and bruising, which subsides over time. Compression garments are often recommended to support the healing arms and help reduce swelling. While some results are immediate, the final outcome will gradually emerge as the swelling decreases, typically over several months. Patients are generally advised to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a few weeks post-surgery, following the specific guidance provided by their surgeon.

Risks and Considerations

As with any surgery, an arm lift carries risks, such as infection, bleeding, scarring, and complications related to anaesthesia. There may also be a possibility of asymmetry or changes in skin sensation. Selecting a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon and closely following pre- and post-operative instructions can significantly mitigate these risks.


An arm lift is a transformative procedure for individuals looking to enhance the appearance of their upper arms. It offers a solution to the frustration many feel about sagging skin that cannot be addressed through lifestyle changes alone. By understanding the comprehensive process—from candidacy and consultation through recovery—individuals can make informed decisions about pursuing this treatment. As with any cosmetic surgery, thorough research and realistic expectations are paramount to achieving satisfying outcomes.


An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin and fat from the upper arms to achieve a toned and contoured appearance. This procedure is ideal for individuals with significant skin laxity. Liposuction, on the other hand, is primarily used to remove excess fat from the arms but does not address the issue of loose, sagging skin. Therefore, liposuction is best suited for individuals with good skin elasticity who are looking to reduce fat in the arms without needing to remove excess skin.

Recovery times can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. Generally, patients can expect to return to light, daily activities within a week or two post-surgery. However, it may take up to six weeks or longer before resuming more strenuous activities or heavy lifting. Swelling and bruising are common and may take several weeks to subside fully. Following the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions is crucial for a smooth recovery.

Yes, scarring is inevitable following an arm lift procedure as the surgery involves incisions. However, plastic surgeons typically place incisions in less noticeable areas, such as the inner arm or the back of the arm, to minimise visible scarring. Over time, the scars will fade and become less noticeable, especially with proper care and following the surgeon’s advice on scar management.

Yes, an arm lift can be combined with other cosmetic procedures for more comprehensive body contouring results. Commonly combined procedures include breast lifts, tummy tucks, or thigh lifts. Combining surgeries can address multiple areas of concern in one operative session, potentially reducing overall recovery time compared to having separate procedures. However, the decision to combine surgeries should be made carefully with your surgeon, considering your overall health and specific aesthetic goals.

The results of an arm lift are generally long-lasting, provided you maintain a stable weight and healthy lifestyle. Significant weight fluctuations or aging can affect the appearance of your arms over time, potentially leading to some degree of sagging skin. However, the majority of the improvement from the surgery should be relatively permanent, with the arms retaining a more toned and contoured appearance compared to before the procedure.

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