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Upper Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

An upper arm lift, or “brachioplasty,” is an ideal procedure for people with excess skin and fat deposits in their upper arms. The majority of patients who undergo an upper arm lift are massive weight loss patients who have excess hanging skin, but arm skin can also become loose with age in patients who have not experienced dramatic weight loss. An arm lift can reshape the upper arm to reveal a more toned and youthful arm contour.

Prior to Surgery

Before the operation, patients should achieve their weight loss goal and stabilize their weight. A healthy diet and exercise should be maintained to prepare the body for surgery and achieve good muscle tone in the arms. Lab testing or a medical evaluation will be done to ensure that you are healthy enough for surgery. Patients are advised to stop smoking and refrain from taking aspirin-containing medications for two to three weeks before surgery.

Brachioplasty Procedure

For patients who have no excess skin but minimal fat deposits in the upper arms, liposuction alone can eliminate the fat and result in more attractive upper arms. Liposuction can also be performed in conjunction with brachioplasty for patients who have excess skin as well as fat deposits in their upper arms.

After general anesthesia is administered, an incision is made along the inner or back of the arm from the elbow to the armpit. The incision for massive weight loss patients often extends across part or all of the armpit and sometimes onto the chest wall to reduce loose skin in the chest area as well. The underlying tissue is reshaped and tightened using internal sutures, and excess tissue and skin are removed. Either absorbable sutures or removable stitches will be used to close the incision.


After surgery your arms will be wrapped with a bandage or compression garment to minimize swelling, and dressings may be applied to the incision. The upper arms usually develop some swelling for 7 to 10 days following surgery, and patients experience a feeling of tightness due to this. Sometimes swelling may extend into the hands and be accompanied by a tingling sensation. Bruising may occur that will resolve within a couple weeks after surgery. Any pain and discomfort will be controlled with prescribed oral medications. Blood or fluid that accumulates under the skin will be removed with a small, thin drain tube. If non-absorbable stitches were used, they will be removed about 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. General activity can be resumed within 2 to 3 days after the operation, but heavy lifting and strenuous activities should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks. Results will be relatively permanent as long as a stable weight is maintained.

An arm lift is a very satisfying procedure to achieve a more youthful upper arm contour. Patients are more comfortable wearing short-sleeved clothing and often experience greater self-confidence after brachioplasty. To schedule a consultation for an upper arm lift with the Cosmetic Surgeons of Naples, call (239) 263-6766.