Fluctuations in weight, growing older, and even heredity can cause the upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. Exercise may strengthen and improve the underlying muscle tone of the upper arm, but it cannot address excess skin that has lost elasticity, underlying weakened tissues, or localized fat deposits. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, surgically treats the area between the underarm and the elbow to reduce excess sagging skin that droops downward; tightens and smoothes the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm; and reduces localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region. The smoother, tighter contours that result from upper arm contouring are apparent almost immediately, although after the swelling and bruising subside, the results will be more significant. In addition, skin quality is dramatically improved in both appearance and texture. PeaceHealth Medical Group helps patients in the Portland metro area who have sagging upper arms with excess skin and fat develop a more toned and proportionate appearance.
"I am in the process of breast reconstruction with Dr. Gabriel and beyond pleased with the results so far. He placed temporary tissue expanders during my bilateral mastectomy and he will place implants next month. He has been a saving grace in my breast cancer treatment; a surgeon who truly cares about the physical and emotional toll from this type of diagnosis. Highly recommended!"- J. / Healthgrades / Jan 29, 2018
"Dr. Gabriel is an excellent surgeon with the highest level of quality and care."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / Jan 28, 2018
"Dr Gabriel and his team are absolutely fantastic. I saw Dr Gabriel when I decided to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and I couldn’t have asked for anyone more understanding and informative. I highly recommend Dr Gabriel and his team to anyone and everyone."- K.T. / Healthgrades / Jan 28, 2018
"The best experience ever - Dr Gabriel and his team are absolutely fantastic. I saw Dr Gabriel when I decided to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and I couldn’t have asked for anyone more understanding and informative. I highly recommend Dr Gabriel and his team to anyone and everyone."- K. / RealSelf / Jan 27, 2018
"Best surgeon ever - Dr Gabriel and his team are absolutely fantastic. I saw Dr Gabriel when I decided to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and I couldn’t have asked for anyone more understanding and informative. I highly recommend Dr Gabriel and his team to anyone and everyone."- Anonymous / Vitals / Jan 27, 2018
The goal of an arm lift is to result in a toned upper arm appearance. The length of the incision varies depending on how much skin and fat are to be removed. Patients who have a fairly good skin tone may only require a minor incision. However, patients who have excessively loose, hanging skin will require an incision that may run from the armpit to the elbow. At this time, the excess skin is trimmed and the underlying muscles are tightened. In some patients, the armpit will also need to be addressed and surgically tightened.
Patients undergoing brachioplasty are put under general anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure that takes an average of 2 hours to complete. If the procedure is a part of an after weight loss surgery, which usually involves more than one body part, an overnight stay may be required. After surgery, the arm is protected with a compression garment and drain tubes may be present to avoid the risk of infection. Swelling and bruising are normal. Patients should keep the arm elevated to promote blood circulation and help with swelling. With proper care, the arm will return to normal function after several weeks.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 1-2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- Procedure Recovery Location
Arm Lift FAQs
Arm Lift or Lipo?
This depends on the amount of loose skin that is present. Patients who lose a significant amount of weight generally need the skin removed in order to attain a positive result. In fact, many times, arm lift patients do not even need liposuction because there’s no excess fat to be removed. On the other hand, patients who have relatively good skin elasticity may only need liposuction or minor tightening.
What About Scars?
Any patient who undergoes an operation where skin is excised and incisions are made should understand that scarring is a part of the procedure, including brachioplasty. We make every effort to ensure that the scar will be as minimal as possible. For post-surgery care, topical ointments to assist in scar healing will be prescribed. It is also recommended that patients avoid sun exposure during the first year to protect the incisions from any additional discoloration. Most patients believe the benefits of a more toned arm outweight the appearance of scars.
It is common for arm lift patients to combine this surgery with another procedure. This is sometimes referred to as an upper body lift and may include liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast surgery (breast lift). During the consultation, each surgery will be discussed and recommendations will be made as to whether these procedures can be done at the same time.
An arm lift is performed to remove hanging skin and fat. The only way to build actual muscle is through strength training. Following surgery, once the arms are fully healed, patients can begin weight training if they wish to do so. This is a great way to add shape to the arms by toning and strengthening them. Patients should maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise in order to avoid a recurring weight gain, which could compromise the surgical results.