Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

An arm lift is a surgical procedure that works to reduce extra skin and fat in order to give the arm a more slender definition. Exercise helps to improve the underlying musculature but is hard-pressed to remove excess skin or stubborn fat.

"I think from the moment I had the surgery, my confidence returned. I’m so proud of my arms and keep showing them off. I can’t wait to go on holiday in October and be able to dress for the weather rather than hiding in a cardigan in 40-degree heat."

A McIndoe Centre Patient

Why You May Need an Arm Lift

Saggy skin can be caused by the natural ageing process, which means that skin loses its elasticity and becomes droopy. Fat distribution and the way in which your body stores it own fat could also be a driving factor. Periods of weight loss and weight gain in both men and women can also contribute to the effects of loose, pendulous skin.

What Does Arm Lift Surgery Involve?

Arm lift/reduction surgery can involve one or both two key surgeries- liposuction and/or skin excision. Liposuction is singularly successful if there are large amounts of extra fat. This typically works best in younger patients whose skin is more likely to ‘bounce back’. During liposuction, a discreet incision is made by the surgeon enabling him to remove the fat and begin to contour and sculpt the arm.

If you have slim arms without any extra fat- just loose, empty skin, then skin reduction is most suitable as there is no fat to remove in the first place. Your surgeon will most likely draw an ellipse from your elbow up to your armpit, placed as discreetly as possible to minimise the visibility of scarring.

The above are examples of two ends of the spectrum and not suitable options for all; most patients will need a combination of both liposuction and skin reduction to reduce fat deposits and loose skin. Your surgeon will carefully assess you and make various skin markings to produce symmetrical and slim arms. Your arms will be bandaged to help reduce the swelling and bruising.

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Thinking about having cosmetic surgery?

If you are thinking about having cosmetic surgery, there are some important questions that you should ask yourself and the surgeon performing the procedure. The documents below will help you make the decision that is right for you. 

Download cosmetic surgery questions

Download cosmetic surgery checklist

Are There Any Risks With Arm Lift Surgery?

Arm lifts and reductions remain a very popular and well-practiced procedure, but as with all cosmetic surgery, there are some associated risks. At The McIndoe Centre, we do everything to minimise the chance of any complications.

Some early issues include haematoma or seroma, which is a collection of blood or fluid in the treatment area. This is quite uncommon and can easily be resolved by washing out the source of bleeding or fluid.

Our bodies are naturally asymmetrical but you may experience slight asymmetry after the surgery. This is greatly reduced if the surgeon has the appropriate skill and experience performing the procedure.

Other complications include scarring and infection, both of which can be easily managed and reduced if dealt with appropriately.

Recovery Time

Following surgery, you will be required to spend one or two nights at the hospital and are advised to take two weeks off work post-surgery. It is advised that you avoid any heavy lifting and strenuous activity during this time.

Bruising and swelling is normal but is expected to subside in 21 days. In the weeks following your treatment, you will be invited for a follow-up appointment with your consultant to check that you are progressing as expected.

Treatment Cost

If you decide that arm lift surgery is for you, at The McIndoe Centre you can select a preferred consultant at a time suitable for you. Our consultants are able to discuss your options with you in a thorough and expert way and give you an indication or price. 

For more information, we would be delighted if you wanted to arrange a consultation with us. You can call the Helpline for free and professional advice.

This article was written by The McIndoe Centre, in collaboration with Anita Hazari MB BS, MD, FRCS, FRCS(Plast) Consultant Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon. All information, advice and procedures were updated on 17th September 2019.

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