Arm Lift

A number of factors, including weight fluctuation, age, and genetics can cause your upper arms to droop or sag.
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You may have improved the underlying muscle tone of your upper arm, but exercise will not help the extra skin that has lost its elasticity, underlying weakened tissues or localized fat deposits. An arm lift can:

  • Reduce excess skin and fat between the underarm and the elbow.
  • Reshape your arm to result in smoother skin and contours.
  • Result in a more toned and proportionate appearance.

Meet Your Physicians

Matthew R. Swelstad, MD

Jeffrey M. Pitcher, MD

Arm Lift FAQ's

An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical solution to address sagging, excess skin, and localized fat pockets in the upper arm region. This procedure tightens and smoothes the underlying supportive tissue, offering a remedy for the effects of weight fluctuations, aging, and heredity that cannot be improved through exercise alone.

Is it right for me?

Arm lifting is a highly individualized procedure, and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image. 

Arm lifting may be a good option for:

  • Adults experiencing substantial upper arm skin laxity
  • Individuals of any age with stable weight and not significantly overweight
  • Healthy individuals without medical conditions affecting healing or increasing surgery risk
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and realistic expectations

Your consultation is your time to ask the doctor about the procedure you’re considering, how he thinks it will work for you and any concerns you may have.

Questions to Consider:

  • What is the simplest and safest surgery to help me achieve my goals?
  • Are other options available?
  • What results can I expect, and how long do the typical results last?
  • Where will scars be located, and how noticeable will they be?
  • Will scars fade over time, and how long will this take?

Your surgeon will:

  • Assess your overall health and any pre-existing conditions or risk factors.
  • Capture photographs for reference.
  • Engage in discussions about available options and potential outcomes of the arm lift surgery, including risks and complications.


After your consultation with the physician, you will meet with the practice manager to discuss procedure costs.

Comprehensive comprehension of every facet of your arm lift procedure is crucial. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, from excitement about the anticipated transformation to a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t hesitate to openly discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

There are several things to do prior to your procedure that will make your recovery as smooth as possible and ease your pre-procedure anxiety.

Your Pre-Op Checklist:

  • Make sure you have arranged for someone to drive you to surgery and stay with you for a night. 
  • Consult with your surgeon and adhere to their instructions.
  • Take prescribed medications or modify current medication as directed.
  • Complete necessary lab tests within 30 days of your procedure.
  • Cease smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use.
  • Refrain from taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or herbal supplements to mitigate potential bleeding.

 Day of Surgery:

  • Be on time for your scheduled surgery appointment.
  • Bring a companion aged 18 or older.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking after midnight prior to your surgery.
  • Use antibacterial soap for a thorough body wash before the procedure.
  • Opt for loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and remove on the day of your surgery.

Above all, adhering to your surgeon’s pre-surgery recommendations is key to a successful and swift recovery.


Medications for comfort during arm lift surgery are administered, with options including intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, tailored to your specific needs by your doctor.

The Incision: 

The length and pattern of incisions in arm lift surgery are determined by the amount and location of excess skin. Options may include: 

  • Inner Arm Incision – This incision is discreetly placed on the inner side of the arm, extending from the underarm to just above the elbow, targeting excess skin for a comprehensive reshaping solution.
  • Back of Arm Incision – Located on the back side of the arm, this incision, similar to the inner arm incision, addresses excess skin from the underarm to just above the elbow, contributing to effective reshaping.
  • Minimal Incision – Characterized by a smaller incision, the minimal incision approach focuses on minimizing visible scarring while targeting specific areas, providing a more discreet option for select patients.

Closing Incisions:

Incisions are closed with either absorbable sutures or stitches, with removal scheduled within one to two weeks post-surgery.

Recovery durations after Arm Lifts vary for each patient (days to months).

Following your arm lift procedure, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. To minimize swelling during the healing process, an elastic bandage or compression garment may be wrapped around your arms.

In some cases a temporary, thin tube may be placed to drain excess blood or fluid.

You will receive detailed instructions covering:

  • Proper care post-surgery
  • Medications for healing and infection prevention
  • Specific signs to monitor at the surgical site and for overall health
  • Follow-up schedule with your plastic surgeon

Ensure you address specific queries about your individual recovery:

  • Post-surgery destination.
  • Prescribed medications.
  • Duration of dressings/bandages and removal timeline.
  • Are the stitches scheduled for removal, and if so, when is the expected timeframe? 
  • When can I safely resume normal activities and exercise? 
  • What is the recommended timing for my follow-up care appointment?

Your plastic surgeon and/or their team will provide detailed explanations of surgery-associated risks. Consent forms will be signed to ensure your full comprehension of the procedure and potential complications.

Some Risks Involved:

  • 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)
  • Infection


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