All You Need to Know About Arm Lift Surgery

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen


What is an Arm Lift Surgery?

An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is a type of plastic or cosmetic surgery. This procedure surgery is mainly used for treating upper sagging arm skin and fat. The brachioplasty removes excess arm skin and fat. This plastic surgery procedure helps the upper arms look more toned and shapely.

Generally, genetics and aging play a very important role in the development of sagging arm skin. Also, if you have lost a lot of weight you might require an arm lift as you might be left with extra arm skin. Whatever may be the cause, an arm lift from a reputed clinic is always advisable. However, there are certain things you must keep in mind before undergoing an arm lift.

How to Prepare for Arm lift Surgery?

To make your arm lift safe and effective, you can take certain steps in the weeks before your arm lift surgery. Also, if you are a regular smoker, it is advisable to quit smoking two months before surgery as it helps in reducing any kind of complications.

One of the common smoking-related complications is the slow healing of wounds which increases the overall risk of infection. Hence it is important that you consult with your plastic surgeon and discuss a plan for stopping smoking before your arm lift surgery.

Generally, weeks before your arm lift surgery, Dr. Katzen or your plastic surgeon would provide you with a preoperative evaluation. Dr. Katzen will make sure you are ready for the surgery by evaluating all your medical history and present health condition. Also, if you have questions regarding your arm lift surgery, you should have your questions answered before surgery

Front Arm Lift
Back Arm Lift

This patient is a 44-year-old female. She weighed 217 pounds and had lost 60 pounds with diet and exercise. She was left with excess skin on her arms after losing weight. She underwent a brachioplasty or arm lift under general Anesthesia. She is happy with her results and confidently can wear a summer dress that exposes her arms.

What consists of the Preoperative Evaluation for an Arm Lift Surgery?

The preoperative evaluation includes the following

  • The lab work: blood tests, urine tests, covid test
  • Chest X-Ray
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Prescriptions for preoperative medication
  • Adjustment of dose for current supplements as well as medications

The results of the preoperative evaluation for an arm lift surgery are important as it assists Dr. Katzen and his surgical team to determine if an arm lift is safe to perform on you to figure out the safest approach for the surgery. Also, Dr. Katzen will recommend you to stop taking any kind of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or Motrin. Dr. Katzen will recommend you stop taking some supplements and herbs.

What is the procedure for Arm lift Surgery?

On the day of your surgery, Dr. Katzen will plan where to place your incisions. There are various ways to perform an arm lift. The most common way involves an incision from the elbow to the armpit.

Before performing the arm lift surgery, you would be given general anesthesia usually arm liposuction is performed at the beginning of an arm lift. After the upper arm fat is removed, Dr. Katzen follows his pre-operative markings and makes an incision. The skin and fat of the arm is dissected free and loose arm skin and fat are permanently removed. Then the incisions is closed with sutures. No drains are used for the arm lift. The arm lift surgery takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

After the surgery is done, it is required that there is someone to take you home.

What are some of the risks related to Arm lift Surgery?

Like many other surgeries, an arm lift comes with certain risks. The following are some of the risks associated with arm lift surgery:

  • Excessive bleeding in operated areas
  • Arm lift scars
  • Fluid buildup – – seromas and hematomas
  • Damage to nerves, muscles and blood vessels
  • Death of Fatty tissue

Also, general anesthesia carries certain additional risks

  • Confusion
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke

However, these are very rare cases. Your plastic surgeon will make sure that the possibility of risks are minimized.

Arm lift Surgery Recovery

You will need to wear a compression garment to decrease swelling while recovering after your arm lift.

Your doctor will provide you with postoperative advice to follow at home. These will include information on how to care for your wounds when to take medications, warning signs, and a schedule for follow-up appointments. While recovering from an arm lift, it is also crucial to avoid smoking. Smoking hinders the healing process, increasing the chances of persistent scars or infections.

Arm lift Cost

The average cost of an arm lift, varies by procedure type, length of procedure, and whether your surgery is in a surgery center or hospital covered by insurance or not. Your plastic surgeon’s experience and several other factors.


This was all about arm lift surgery. Make sure you research your chosen plastic surgeon and clinic before you opt for the surgery. Be sure your plastic surgeon is experienced. (Do they have hundreds of before and after pictures on their website of arm lifts? Do they have hundreds of patient reviews from previous arm lift patients?) Is your plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?


What are the medical conditions which can make arm lift surgery risky?

Elective surgery can be dangerous due to a variety of factors. Smokers should never have a brachioplasty procedure. Any tobacco products (including vaping, nicotine gum, and patches) should be ceased four to six months before surgery. Patients with a history of connective tissue illnesses may not be suitable candidates for the surgery because it requires significant incisions, and these patients may have a history of poor tissue quality and healing issues. Patients who are taking long-term oral steroids for medical reasons are also not excellent candidates for brachioplasty.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.