Arm Lift

Arm Lift – Upper Arm Lift – Brachioplasty

An Arm Lift, or brachioplasty, reshapes drooping, sagging skin and fat deposits underneath the arm from the underarm to the elbow. While diet and exercise can help to improve body contours, they cannot reshape sagging skin. An upper arm lift may be combined with liposuction to create a sculpted upper arm that complements the rest of your figure.

After losing a significant amount of weight, removing excess skin from beneath the arms provide an uplifting improvement in the shape and overall appearance making it one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures after massive weight loss surgery.

Who Is a Candidate for an Arm Lift?

  • A person who has lost a significant amount of weight and has sagging skin as well as significant amount of residual fat under the upper arms.
  • A person whose underarm skin has lost its elasticity due to age or heredity.
  • Ideally, an arm lift candidate should be a non-smoker in good health whose weight is relatively stable.

Who Is Not a Candidate for an Arm Lift?

  • A person who has excess fat in the underarms that could be best resolved through liposuction, and excess skin is not the issue.
  • A person who is unwilling to accept the appearance of scars on the underside or back of the arm where arm lift incisions are made.

Intended Results of an Arm Lift

  • Significantly improved contouring of the skin under the upper arms.
  • The patient feels more comfortable wearing sleeveless garments with arms that appear slimmer and toned.

Procedure Description of an Arm Lift

  • Anesthesia is administered (this procedure may be done under local or general anesthesia).
  • Incisions are made along the length of the upper arm from the underarm to just above the elbow either along the inside of the arm, or along the back of the arm. The incision may need to be extended to the axilla (underarm) in many cases. This helps to resect more skin and create a less visible scar.
  • Excess skin and fat is removed, possibly (always aided) aided by liposuction.
  • Skin is smoothed over the newly contoured underarm.
  • Incisions are closed with absorbable sutures or stitches.
  • A sterile dressing and compression garment will be applied, and drains may be placed.
  • The procedure typically takes one to three hours.
  • Although the results of the surgery will be immediately apparent, the upper arm area will likely be swollen and bruised initially.

Healing and Recovery following an Arm Lift

Immediately following surgery, the patient will have bandages on the incisions. Arms will be wrapped in a compression garment or elastic bandage to minimize swelling. Small thin tubes may be placed under the skin on each arm to drain excess blood or fluid during the recovery period.

The surgeon will provide specific instructions regarding medication, limitations, and expectations during the recovery process.

Options for Arm Lifts

  • Mini Arm Lift
  • Extended Arm Lift
  • Liposuction
  • Laser Skin Tightening


The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.

Are you considering a Arm Lift? Visit our Find a Surgeon Directory to find a highly-qualified cosmetic surgeon near you.

Reviewed by Victoria Karlinsky, MD, FACS, a board-certified general, cosmetic, and facial cosmetic surgeon who practices at New Look New Life Cosmetic Surgical Arts in New York.