What is an arm lift?
Upper arms can droop with age or after significant weight loss — and the upper arms can be an area where fat is stubbornly stored no matter how much you try to tone. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, reshapes the back of the upper arm from elbow to armpit by eliminating sagging skin, removing excess fat and tightening the underlying tissue.
How arm lift surgery works
Brachioplasty can be performed under general anesthesia or with intravenous sedation, depending on your comfort and your surgeon’s recommendations.
If you don’t have a lot of excess skin that needs to be removed, your surgeon may choose to make a small incision near your armpit and use liposuction to remove fat.
If you do need skin removed, your surgeon will decide how and where to make incisions based on how much skin needs to be removed and where it’s located. Incisions are usually made on the back or inside of the arm, from the armpit to the elbow. After tightening the underlying tissue and placing internal sutures to hold it, your surgeon will drape your skin over your newly contoured arm, remove excess skin and close the incision.
Depending on the extent of your procedure, drainage tubes might be placed to drain fluid for a week or so after surgery.
How long does it take to recover from arm lift surgery?
Recovery time for this procedure usually takes about one to two weeks — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your doctor will talk to you about what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions About Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)
A. Brachioplasty leaves a scar on the inside of the upper arm. If your loose skin is mostly in the area next to your armpit only, you may be a candidate for a short-scar brachioplasty — but if you have excess skin or looseness that extends from your armpit to elbow, the incision and scar will be correspondingly longer.
A. Arm lift results are long-lasting as long as your weight remains stable. If you have a substantial weight gain or loss, the contours of your arms will change (as with any body contouring procedure).
A. If you’re an avid exerciser, it might be a month or two before you can get back to your normal fitness routine, although you can probably return to light exercise after a couple of weeks. Your surgeon will advise you on when you can engage in strength training that will help you continue to tone your arms.