Arm Lift – Toning Sagging Arms


The arm lift surgery, or Brachioplasty, is performed to treat sagging upper arms. This surgical procedure removes the excess skin from the upper arms, making it look better toned.

Arm Lift Surgery

There are many reasons why the skin of the upper arm starts to sag, for instance:
• As one gets older, the skin of the upper arm begins to lose and droop.
• Another common reason for sagging upper arms is due to massive weight loss, which can cause sagging at the bottom of the upper arm.
The arm lift procedure removes such sagging skin, tightens it, and gives a well-defined appearance. If you are considering to opt for this procedure, it is vital to know a few things beforehand.
• You should be ready to live with the visible scar that the procedure will leave on the underside of the upper arms. This is easily covered by sleeves though.
• It would be best not to have any plans for significant weight loss after the procedure as it could disturb the results achieved through Brachioplasty.
• You should be able to commit to a healthy lifestyle to retain the effects of the surgery.  

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What Are the Types of Arm Lift Surgeries?

The surgeon performs the arm lift surgery in different ways based on the level of the sagging, the skin quality and amount of fat and skin. Here are the prominent ones:
1. Liposuction
Arm lift through liposuction is generally performed for patients who are young and have good skin elasticity. The surgeon removes the fat and sometimes the excess tissues inside the skin of the upper arms and. After the fat removal, if the skin elasticity is good, it will shrink back to the normal structure of the upper arms.
2. Limited Arm Lift Procedure
This procedure is best suited for people who don’t have much fat in the upper arm and have sagging upper portion near the armpits. This procedure doesn’t remove any excess skin, tissue or fat. The surgeon will pull up the excess skin and tuck into the region near the armpits, which tightens the upper arms.
3. Standard Arm Lift Procedure
This is the most common form of arm lift surgeries when the patient has a long, flabby skin extending from the armpit till the elbow. The surgeon will remove the excess fat, tissues and skin from the upper arm, and tighten the remaining muscles around it. Sometimes, the surgeon may use internal sutures to tighten the skin inside the upper arm and cover it over with incisions on the outer arm.
4. Extended Arm Lift Procedure
Surgeons suggest this procedure for patients who have experienced massive weight loss. The sagging skin will not only be localised to the upper arms but will also be present till the sides of the upper body. Through this procedure, the surgeon performs the arm lift on the upper arms and extends it till the side of the chest to tighten the skin.  

How Can You Prepare for Arm Lift Surgery?

During the initial consultation, the surgeon will inspect your upper arm and do some markings after measurements on your body to find the best course of action for removing the excess flabby skin. If you had any injuries or physical problems on the upper arms, you should inform your surgeon.
The expert surgeon will recommend you to take some steps in order to prepare for the procedure:
• It would be best if you stop smoking for at least a month or two before the scheduled date of the arm lift procedure.
• If your surgeon asks you to reduce weight or go through some lifestyle changes, then it is crucial to achieve it within the given timeline.
• The surgeon will ask you to stay away from anti-inflammatory medications.
• Prepare at home to ensure that you can adequately rest after the surgery.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

The surgeon will perform the procedure either at an outpatient day care facility or at an accredited hospital.
Arm Lift Procedure
• For arm lift surgery, the surgeon will usually administer general anesthesia.
• Depending on the location of the excess skin or fat, he will make incisions along the underside of the arm.
• After doing the required adjustments, the outer layer of the skin is brought together, tightened and closed with sutures.
• The size of the incision varies depending on the type of the arm lift procedure.
•For liposuction and limited arm lift surgery, the incisions are small.
•For standard arm lift surgery, the incision is made on the underside of the upper arms.
•Likewise, for extended arm lift surgery, the incisions will extend till the side of the chests.

After the completion of the surgery, you will be kept under observation for a few hours. You can see your upper arm looking defined immediately after the surgery once the drains and bandages are removed.


How to Take Care of Your Arm After the Surgery?

Precautionary Measures
Soon after the surgery, you might need to wear compression garments that would support the upper arm and facilitate draping to get a toned look. The surgeon will ask you to take rest for at least three to five days and prevent any movements to the operated region.
Sometimes when dissection is more, the surgeon may insert drainage tubes in your arm to drain any bodily fluids. Before you get discharged after the surgery, the hospital staff will teach you how to drain the tubes at home.
In addition, the surgeon will instruct you about proper ways and preventive measures to take care of the arm. As an instant tip, it is best to sleep with your arms elevated resting on two or three pillows on either side for the first week.
Physical Movements
You can start walking around in your home after a week. It is best not to indulge in any strenuous exercises that place excess strain on your arm. You can stretch your body and take limited strolls at home as an exercise to keep the blood circulating.
Based on the pace of your recovery, the surgeon will allow you to get back to your work after a month. Nevertheless, your work should not involve any heavy physical activities as it could disturb your arm.


The swelling on the arms may take a minimum of four weeks to subsidize after which, you will witness the new contour taking final shape. The incisions may appear pink for at least a month after the surgery after which you can see the scars fading away.
The results of the surgery will last if you give proper attention to your body weight. Go for regular check-ups with your surgeon and do not hesitate if you feel

Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Kulwant S Bhangoo, Plastic Surgeon

The information is being provided by and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon on: 20-JUN-2020