Arm Lift Surgery| Brachioplasty: What Should You Know?

By: Our Staff


What is an arm lift?

Arm lift surgery or brachioplasty is a plastic surgical solution to hanging upper arm skin and excess fat. This area is resistant to arm lift surgery improves the under portion of your upper arm. During arm lift surgery, Dr. J. Timothy Katzen, M.D., a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, CA, removes hanging skin and fat from the armpit to the elbow. The remaining arm skin is redraped resulting a more toned arm profile. Arm lift surgery gives a permanent solution to the unwanted upper arm skin caused by significant weight loss or aging.

As you age, hanging skin on your upper arm becomes more common. Also, significant weight loss can cause the undersides of your upper arms to deflate and droop. While exercise can help strengthen and improve muscle tone, it cannot address the concerns of excess skin that has lost elasticity. In addition to improved appearance, arm lift surgery can also boost your self-confidence and overall body image.

What is included in an arm lift?

Generally, arm lift surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. An overnight stay may be required for patients undergoing multiple other procedures simultaneously. Arm lift surgery removes arm fat, tightens the underlying supportive tissues and eliminates excess sagging arm skin.

An arm lift surgery may include the following procedures based on the patient's problem status and surgical goals:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Breast augmentation
  • Breast lift
  • Face lift
  • Neck lift
  • Neck liposuction
  • VASER Hi-Def liposuction
  • Mommy makeover

Arm lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes 3-4 hours to complete.

Who is a good candidate for an arm lift?

The right candidate for arm lift surgery should meet the following criteria:

  • Your weight should be relatively stable
  • You are tired of hiding your flabby arms.
  • You have excess, loose skin on the upper arms.
  • You want a toned, taut, and trim upper arm appearance.
  • You are physically fit without medical conditions that impair healing or increase the risk of surgery.
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations with arm lift surgery.
  • Smokers need to quit smoking for four months before arm lift surgery.

What are the pros and cons of an arm lift?

Following are the benefits of arm lift surgery:

  1. Arm lift surgery eliminates excess arm fat and sagging arm skin.
  2. Arm lift surgery tightens and smooths supportive tissue under the arm.
  3. The removal of tissue through arm lift surgery is permanent. However, to maintain your new upper arm contour with a more toned appearance, you must maintain a stable body weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
  4. With your new upper arm contour, you may feel more self-confident and have a positive self-image.
  5. Arm lift surgery may improve your comfort level after significant weight loss or weight loss surgery.
  6. Arm lift surgery creates better body proportions. Once the arm lift surgery is completed, the patient can expect their upper arms to be proportionate with the rest of their body.
  7. You can flaunt your arms because you can finally wear certain clothing items, such as swimsuits and sleeveless tops.

Following are the downsides of arm surgery:

As with any surgical procedure, arm lift surgery also includes some risks. Like any other type of surgical procedure, an arm lift poses a risk of bleeding, infection, scarring, asymmetry in the shape of your arms, and changes in skin sensation.

The cons of Arm lift surgery may include:

  1. Scarring: Injections of a corticosteroid medication or other treatments might be used to improve the appearance of the scar. Dr. Katzen makes every effort to place the incisions in inconspicuous areas. After your surgery, garments, silicone ointment, and creams can minimize arm lift scarring.
  2. Asymmetry in the shape of your arms: An experienced plastic surgeon can minimize the risk of contour irregularity by their aesthetic sense and surgical precision. One must note that perfect symmetry may not be possible in certain cases. However, a significant improvement can be achieved with an arm lift.
  3. Changes in skin sensation: After your arm lift, you may feel some temporary numbness because surgery and swelling can affect superficial sensory nerves.

How much does an arm lift cost?

Arm lift surgery is an extensive plastic surgery that requires an expert plastic surgeon and an accredited hospital/ plastic cosmetic surgery center. The cost of an arm lift is primarily based on your chosen plastic surgeon's expertise, credentials, experience and location. Therefore, the average cost of arm lift surgery is only part of the total price.

Other factors that significantly influence the cost of an arm lift surgery may include:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Medical tests
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Prescriptions for medication

"It is important to consider all the variables," notes Dr. J. Timothy Katzen, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. “An arm lift is a highly customized procedure. The cost may vary from patient to patient based on their problem status, surgical goals, and anatomical status,” says Dr. Katzen.

When choosing Dr. J. Timothy Katzen, an award-winning, plastic surgeon, for an arm lift, you should be sure to mention all your goals and concerns during your pre-operative consultation.

You should carefully examine Dr. Katzen’s before-and-after arm lift photos. If you decide upon another plastic surgeon, you should check and research how many successful arm lifts your plastic surgeon has. Then, ask them to lay out what they recommend for you based on your surgical goals.

What is arm lift recovery like?

Usually, the recovery from arm lift surgery is two weeks. During the recovery period, you need to follow four key measures:

  • You will be instructed to keep your elbows straight and your hands above your heart.
  • Wear ace bandages and compression garments
  • Take certain medications.
  • Give yourself time to heal properly.

The timeline of arm lift recovery is:

  1. There is no universal timeline for recovery from an arm lift because everybody heals at a different rate.
  2. Generally, the entire healing process takes around two weeks.
  3. Typically, you can expect to resume lite activities within a weeks.
  4. Usually, you likely can go back to strenuous activities after four or five weeks.
  5. Compression garments should be worn for about 6 weeks.
  6. The pain will gradually reduce one week following arm lift surgery. Prescription pain medications will help control the pain.
  7. Swelling and bruising may take about 2 to 3 weeks to subside.
  8. You will notice an improvement in arm mobility within about ten days after arm lift surgery.
  9. About 4-6 weeks after arm lift surgery you should be allowed to do activities like playing golf, lifting weights, and other intense arm activities.
  10. About six months after arm lift surgery, scars should blend well with the surrounding skin and make the wound less visible.

How soon will you see the results from an arm lift?

Immediately after your arm lift surgery, you will see the initial results. However, your final arm lift results will be temporarily obstructed by swelling. Usually, by around 6 to 8 weeks after arm lift surgery, most of your major swelling will have subsided, and you will be able to see your results.

Arm lift results are typically long-lasting. You are advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet, which helps retain your results. However, your skin will naturally lose some firmness with age, which could negatively alter your results. Thus, beginning or continuing weight training and lifestyle management is a great way to add contour to your arms and retain long-lasting results.

Before and After

This is a 62-year-old Caucasian female who had lost 120 pounds. She did not like the appearance of her arms. She underwent a longitudinal brachioplasty or upper arm lift/ reduction combined with arm liposuction. The procedure was performed under general anesthesia and took approximately four hours to complete. No drains were used. An On-Q pain pump was used to eliminate any postoperative pain. Her recovery took approximately two weeks. These postoperative pictures were taken approximately six months after the arm lift procedure.

How long does an arm lift surgery take to complete?

Arm lift surgery lasts 3 to 4 hours.

How much weight do you lose after an arm lift?

Arm lift surgery helps remove excess, sagging skin and fat from elbow to armpit. Moreover, an arm lift surgery can create a better contour of your upper arm. As far as losing weight with arm lift surgery is concerned, brachioplasty will generally remove around 1.5 to 4 lbs of fat and extra upper arm skin.

What are the risks of an arm lift?

Every surgical procedure poses some risks and potential complications even arm lift surgery has risks. To minimize the risks associated with an arm lift surgery, you must follow Dr. Katzen’s post-op instructions. Dr. Katzen has expertise in performing arm lift surgery and does every possible action to minimize potential risks.

Arm lift surgery can pose some risks if the performing plastic surgeon is not experienced. Have a look:

  1. Scars: Scarring is common after an arm lift surgery, but an expert plastic surgeon can hide the scars by placing the incision in the less visible areas.
  2. Asymmetry of your arm shape: Asymmetry in arm contour occurs due to changes during the healing process. One must note that perfect symmetry may not be possible; however, an experienced plastic surgeon tries to meet the aesthetic demands in the best way possible.
  3. Changes in skin sensation: You will likely feel some temporary numbness due to the repositioning of your arm tissues. Over time, usually areas of numbness gradually disappear.

Other arm lift surgery risks include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, and muscles
  • Fatty tissue under the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Fluid accumulation (seroma/hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Poor wound healing
  • Possible need for revision surgery

What are arm lift scars like?

The significant concern for an arm lift surgery is scarring that may be difficult to conceal. Like any skin removal surgery, arm lift surgery leaves scars. Dr. J. Timothy Katzen makes every effort to conceal the scars. Dr. Katzen places the incisions in inconspicuous areas and recommends the application of silicone ointments, silicone strips, and compression garments. In addition, during the first year, you are advised to avoid sun exposure to protect the scar from turning pink or red. Overall, the result of arm lift surgery should allow you to achieve a more toned and defined arm that far outweighs the appearance of arm scars.

Call TODAY to schedule your arm lift surgery consultation. For your convenience, Dr. Katzen has offices in Beverly Hills, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and Dubai, UAE. Physical or virtual consultations can be arranged. Virtual consultation options include FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp. Call TODAY at (310) 859-7770 or email [email protected] to schedule your consultation and achieve your desired arm contour.

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