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Arm Lift Surgery (Brachioplasty)

What is an Arm Lift?

Brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the upper arm. The surgical approach is through an incision on the back and/or inner part of the arm. This creates a considerably long and somewhat visible scar. Therefore, this surgery is most appropriate for individuals in whom the trade off of a scar for a markedly improved contour is acceptable.

Who should have an Arm Lift?

Of course, we all come in different sizes and shapes and not all upper arms are the same nor do they require the same surgical approach. The arm with a lot of excessive skin and little fat deserves a different operation than one with little excess skin and a lot of fat. Dr. Brown’s years of experience allow him to advise the patient on the surgical options, the benefits, the risks and give them a reasonable understanding of the outcome they can expect.

What can an Arm Lift Do?

Although most brachioplasty surgeries are directed toward a better appearance, there is still often a “functional” indication. Most people find that clothing fits better and they are better suited to continue exercise without chaffing after brachioplasty.

Brachioplasty requires a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the arm. Dr. Brown carries the Certificate  in the Subspecialty of Surgery of the Hand and is an accomplished hand surgeon This makes him uniquely capable of preforming brachioplasty safely and effectively.

During your Consult

At the time of your consultation we will review your goals. Dr. Brown will evaluate your medical conditions, drug allergies, current medications/herbal supplements and prior surgical history. He will ask about your general health and stability of your weight.

He will examine arms, take measurements, and finally take photographs. If there is significant fat Dr. Brown will discuss the utility of a staged liposuction procedure. From that information Dr. Brown will recommend a course of treatment, likely outcomes, and discuss potential complications as well as the type of anesthesia.

Prior to Surgery

To get ready for surgery there are a number important steps. We will obtain recent blood work and sometimes obtain medical clearance from your primary doctor.

You must stop smoking. In most cases Dr. Brown will not perform a Brachioplasty on anyone who is actively smoking. You must avoid taking Aspirin, anti-inflammatories and herbal supplements for 3 weeks prior to surgery as these can increase the risk of bleeding. Certain hormones must also be stopped as these increase the risk of Deep vein thrombosis.

The Procedure

Medications are administered for your comfort and most cases these surgeries are performed with deep sedation or general anesthesia.

Prior to surgery several marks are made on the arms to determine the amount of skin to excise. If there is excess fat liposuction is carried our first, followed by skin excision. The skin is then adjusted, as well as inset in the axilla (armpit) to create the best contour. The skin is excised in a way the scar is across the lower inner aspect of the arm.


After surgery the arms are wrapped lightly with compression wraps. These are switched out to compression sleeves at 1 week post-operatively. Strenuous exercise is avoided for the first 3 weeks. Most people feel ready to return to work by 2 to 3 weeks.


  • Anesthesia Risks
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fluid Accumulation (seroma)
  • Poor Wound Healing
  • Skin Loss
  • Numbness or changes in skin sensation
  • Skin discoloration
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Recurrent looseness of skin
  • Fatty tissue
  • Deep Vein thrombosis
  • Cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Asymmetry
  • Suboptimal Aesthetic result
  • Possibility of revision surgery
  • Persistent pain