Arm lift (Brachioplasty)

An upper arm lift, or brachioplasty, reshapes the upper arm to tighten loose skin and remove fat that often creates a “bat wing” appearance under the arm. Removing the excess skin caused by weight loss or natural aging can tighten loose skin that extends from the underarm area to the elbow; liposuction is sometimes used in combination to achieve the best results.

The operation requires a general anaesthetic and may take two to three hours to perform. You will stay in hospital for two to three nights after the surgery. You may or may not have drains, which are tubes that come from underneath your wound to drainage bottles. If these are used, they are to help reduce fluid build up and tend to stay for two to three nights then they are simply removed. You will often have a urinary catheter that will be removed once you are comfortable enough to pass urine yourself.

What are the benefits?

The aim of surgery is to remove the excess hanging tissue from the inner upper arms and lift them at the same time. This will help improve symptoms related to the excess skin such as rashes, blistering, irritation and also improve mobility by removing the heavy hanging tissue, which may aid in exercise and further weight loss.


Possible thigh lift surgery risks include:

  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Poor wound healing
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation (seroma)
  • Major wound separation
  • Asymmetry
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Fatty tissue under the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Persistent pain
  • Skin discoloration and/or swelling
  • Skin loss
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Unfavourable scarring
  • Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Possibility of revisionary surgery

What will my upper arm lift incisions and scars be like?

Upper arm lift scars vary depending on the amount of excess tissue you have and the elasticity of your skin. Even patients who undergo a standard brachioplasty, which results in larger scars, are usually quite satisfied with the results.

Because liposuction incisions are small, the scars are also small. Most liposuction scars fade and are barely perceptible over time.

Limited-incision brachioplasty
Your scars will most likely be limited to the underarm areas.

Standard brachioplasty
Incisions are generally placed on the inside of the arm and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow.


Extended brachioplasty
The standard brachioplasty incision is extended along the arm down to the body to correct loose skin and fatty tissue under the arm area.

The arm lift incision can extend from the elbow to the arm pit and sometimes to the side of the chest.


How do I prepare for a upper arm lift procedure?

Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.

In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:

  • Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing.
  • Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
  • Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
  • If your surgeon recommends weight benchmarks or lifestyle changes, do your best to achieve them to ensure the best results and minimize the chance of complications.