What is an arm lift (brachioplasty)?

An arm lift, also called a brachioplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure where excess skin and fat are removed to reshape the upper arm from the elbow to the underarm.

How is an arm lift procedure performed?

During an arm lift surgery, the patient put under general anesthesia. Once the patient is sedated, an incision is made along the inside or back of the upper arm. Arm liposuction is performed as needed, then the muscle tissue is tightened and contoured. Once liposuction and contouring is complete, any excess skin is removed, and the incisions are stitched up.

For some patients, an invisible arm lift may be appropriate. The biggest difference between this and a standard arm lift, is where the incision is made. In an invisible arm lift, the incision made along the curvature of the underarm. This option will depend on the patient, their existing arm structure and their desired outcome.

Who is a good candidate for an arm lift?

An arm lift is a good option for a patient who is in good health and wants a long-term solution for reducing or eliminating excess skin and fat from the upper arms. It is a common procedure for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and are struggling with the look and feel of their arms.

For patients who have a smaller amount of fat or excess skin, there may be a less invasive option available, including a non-surgical procedure like CoolSculpting.

Is an arm lift safe and effective?

When performed by an experienced surgeon, an arm lift surgery can be a safe and effective way to tighten, tone and reduce or eliminate sagging in your upper arms.

Some patients do experience side effects, most of which are temporary. Possible side effects may include prolonged healing or swelling, nerve damage, bleeding, pain, scarring, blood clots, infection and risks associated with anesthesia.

How do I prepare for an arm lift?

Preparing for an arm lift surgery requires meeting with your plastic surgeon to discuss your current health, medical history and what you are looking to achieve.

Prior to your surgery you will undergo lab testing and an examination by your doctor. Testing for this type of surgery can include assessing your heart rhythm, lung function and some basic blood work.

At least 2 weeks before your arm lift surgery, you will need to:

  • Arrange for someone to transport you to and from the clinic on the day of the surgery
  • Arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours following the surgery
  • Arrange for child or pet care, as needed
  • Avoid aspirin or other drugs that increase blood thinning
  • Stop or pause taking certain supplements or medications
  • Stop smoking

What should I expect from the procedure?

During brachioplasty recovery, you may experience some bruising and swelling. This usually takes between 1 – 2 weeks to subside. Many patients are concerned about having an arm lift scar. While you should expect to have some scarring, this is usually minor and should fade significantly over time.

The tissue often takes a little longer to heal and may mean refraining from strenuous arm exercises for a period. Following recovery, you should be left with slimmer, more defined upper arms.

Is there a consultation fee for arm lift?

All cosmetic consultation fees at SIH Dermatology & Plastic surgery are $100.00, which is applied to the cost of surgery (if booked).

How can I book an appointment to discuss arm lift?

For consultation and treatment, please call our office at 618.351.9140 or send us a message through MyChart. You can also book online at request a consultation.

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