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About Upper Arm Lift

Upper arm lift, also known as brachioplasty. 

Upper arm lift surgery is designed to combat loose skin and fat on the upper arm, sometimes referred to as ‘bat wings’. Removing this excess tissue can improve tthe contour of the upper arms. Many patients who have achieved substantial weight loss (for example through bariatric surgery) find a brachioplasty helps to finalize their changed appearance.

Upper arm lifts will vary in price, depending on where the surgery is performed and who is performing it.

How is it performed?

Your surgeon will first make incisions around the arm, the size and location of these is dependent on what method you and your surgeon decide. Once the correct incisions have been made, your cosmetic surgeon will remove the excess fat and skin from the area, before drawing the edges together to close the wound.

What are my options? 
Your surgeon will discuss your options during your consultation, but generally they will be dependent on the quality of your skin and how much excess skin and fat will need to be removed.

  • Liposuction:
    You will only be offered liposuction if your surgeon determines your skin is elastic enough to shrink over the area once the fat has been suctioned out. Liposuction is usually only used as part of a standard brachioplasty, to remove fat.
  • Limited-incision brachioplasty:
    If you have a significant amount of loose skin around your armpit, your surgeon may be able to ‘tuck’ this into the cavity of the armpit. Usually your surgeon will only suggest this if you have particularly thin, loose skin, but without a lot of underlying fatty tissue.
  • Standard brachioplasty:
    If you have a significant amount of excess fat and skin that hangs between the armpit and the elbow, then your surgeon will likely recommend a standard brachioplasty.
  • Extended brachioplasty:
    Extended arm lift surgery is almost identical to a standard brachioplasty, except that the incision will extend from the arm to the body, so that any excess tissue on the chest can also be removed. This is usually only recommended for patients who have undergone massive weight loss.

What result can I expect?

You can expect your upper arm lift results to last for a long time, as long as your weight does not fluctuate in the years after your procedure. Remember that your body will still continue to age normally, which may lead to loose skin in the future. Make sure you book follow-up appointments with your cosmetic surgeon.



  • Tight clothing will fit you better
  • Your confidence will increase
  • You won’t be self-conscious about wearing short-sleeved clothing


  • You will have visible scars along the insides of your arms extending from the armpit to the elbow


You will be placed in a compression garment immediately after surgery, which your surgeon will advise you about caring for. You are advised to have someone assist you in the first day after your procedure, as you will feel weak during this period.

You will not be allowed to eat solid food until at least 24 hours after surgery.

You should call your aesthetic surgeon immediately if you experience vomiting or severe nausea more than once, as this kind of retching can cause bleeding under the skin. Try to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible after your surgery, being careful not to make any sudden or jerking movements. Try to walk as soon as possible, but make sure not to overly exert yourself.

Recovery Time 
Most people require several weeks to fully recover from an arm lift procedure, and plan to be off work for at least 10 days. You should avoid any activity whatsoever during the first week, as a raised blood pressure can cause internal bleeding.

The safest exercise for you to undertake during the first weeks is walking.

About a month into your recovery, you should be able to slowly return to cardiovascular activities, but still try to avoid any heavy lifting, or exercise that could put strain on your wounds. After around 6-8 weeks, you should be able to return to your normal activities fully.

Limits & Risks

Significant complications from brachioplastys are fortunately infrequent. Remember there are some risks attached to any type of surgery. Follow the instructions of your cosmetic surgeon carefully and you will radically reduce the risk you face.

Some possible complications that can arise in any surgery are:

  • Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
  • Hematomas or seromas
  • Infections
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of sensation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Scarring
  • Tissue damage
  • Unsatisfactory results
  • Blood clots

Questions on Upper Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

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