This website is intended to provide you with general information only. This information is not a substitute for advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and does not contain all the known facts about this procedure or every possible side effect of surgery. It is important that you speak to your surgeon before deciding to undergo surgery. If you are not sure about the benefits, risks and limitations of treatment, or anything else relating to your procedure, ask your surgeon to explain. Patient information provided as part of this website is evidence-based, and sourced from a range of reputable information providers including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Better Health Channel and Mi-tec medical publishing.
Arm lift surgery, otherwise known as brachioplasty, is a procedure that reshapes the upper arms by reducing excess skin, and in some cases fat, resulting in smoother skin and better-proportioned contours of the upper arms.
An arm lift is designed to tighten the skin and improve the contour of the upper arms. The procedure tightens and smooths the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm whilst reducing localised pockets of fat.
Arm lift surgery is an individualised procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Specialist Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.
Arm lift surgery is not suitable for people who are:
Arm lifts are not intended strictly for the removal of excess fat. Liposuction alone can remove excess fat deposits where skin has good elasticity and is able to naturally conform to new body contours. In cases where skin elasticity is poor, a combination of liposuction and arm lift techniques may be recommended.
Arm lift surgery may be a good option for you if:
Arm lift surgery can be done under general anaesthesia, or with a combination of local (or regional) anaesthesia and sedation for patients who require shorter procedures. Modern anaesthesia is safe and effective, but does have some risks. Ask your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and anaesthetist for more information.
Your surgeon and/or anaesthetist will ask you about all the medications you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have. Make sure you have an up to date list before the surgery.
Modern surgery is generally safe but does have the potential for risks and complications to occur.
Some potential risks and complications associated with arm lift surgery include:
Specific risks and complications associated with arm lift surgery include:
Arm lift surgery can be performed in either a day-procedure clinic or a hospital, depending on your general health and the extent of the procedure. A short hospital stay may be required in some instances. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will advise on the best option for you.
Before undergoing surgery, it is important that you:
You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history for your Specialist Plastic Surgeon including any health problems you have had, any medication you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have.
You may be advised to stop taking certain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and medicines that contain aspirin. You may also be asked to stop taking naturopathic substances such as garlic, ginkgo, ginseng and St John’s Wort as they may affect clotting and anaesthesia. Always tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you are taking.
You may be given medicines to take before the surgery, such as antibiotics.
Your surgeon will also advise you if any other tests are required, such as blood tests, X-ray examinations or an Electrocardiograph (ECG) to assess your heart
Prepare a “recovery area” in your home. This may include pillows, ice packs, a thermometer and a telephone within easy reach. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to drive you to and from the hospital or clinic. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home.
Your surgeon should give detailed preoperative instructions. Follow them carefully.
Following your surgery, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. You may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimise swelling and to support your operation site as it heals. A small, thin tube may also be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may need to take a few days off work to rest. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports until advised by your surgeon.
If you experience any bleeding, unusual symptoms or sever pain, contact you surgeon immediately.
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care. These instructions may include:
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period, such as:
Yes, arm lift surgery will result in some visible scars. Your surgeon will limit scar length and try to position each scar in the least conspicuous position. Nonetheless, scars may be more noticeable than you anticipated. It is important that you have realistic expectations of the surgery and that you discuss potential outcomes with your surgeon.
Depending on the amount of excess skin, some patients may require one or more additional procedures to achieve the optimal result.
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices for individual procedures can vary widely between Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office. Costs associated with the procedure may include:
Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.
Visit the Plastic Surgery Glossary for more medical terms.