Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

Brachioplasty is a procedure designed to remove excess skin and fullness in the upper arms.  This is not as commonly performed as other body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck as there are fewer people who are truly good candidates for this procedure.  It is best suited for those who have a fairly significant amount of skin excess, such as after massive weight loss.  Less extensive procedures such as liposuction or a more limited scar brachioplasty may be more appropriate for patients with less skin excess.

Best Candidates

The best patients for brachioplasty are those with significant skin excess in the upper arms.  A full brachioplasty leaves a scar that goes from the elbow to the armpit that may be hard to hide.  However, for patients with excessive skin, such as after massive weight loss, the scar is an acceptable trade for the benefit of a smaller arm and the amount of improvement can be very impressive.

The Procedure

We perform this procedure in the operating room at the Lawrence Surgery Center or Lawrence Memorial Hospital under general anesthesia.  The procedure can take 1½-2½ hours, and is sometimes done in conjunction with other procedures, such as breast surgery.  During the operation, we remove the excess skin and fat from the underside of your arm, placing this long incision so that the scar is as well hidden as possible.  The incisions are sewn up with sutures under the skin that dissolve with time.  Drains are usually placed and a compressive dressing applied.  After surgery the patient is kept in the recovery area for 1-2 hours before going home.


Most patients are on their stronger pain medications for 2-4 days after the procedure, then transition to non-narcotic medications. We no longer routinely place drains following this procedure.  We typically keep patients in a compressive sleeve type garment for 1-4 weeks after surgery.  The time before you can return to work and everyday activities varies from patient to patient, but 1-2 weeks is adequate for most patients.  Again, some have returned to work much sooner, while others have taken longer, especially those with jobs requiring heavy lifting or strenuous activities.

Combined procedures

Brachioplasty is sometimes combined with other body contouring and facial cosmetic procedures.  It is particularly well suited to combine with breast procedures in massive weight loss patients, as it can be part of reshaping the entire breast/chest/upper arm area.

Fast fact

Approximately 17,000 brachioplasty procedures were performed in the US last year, more than 50 times more than in 2000.

5 reasons to have your brachioplasty procedure performed at Lawrence Plastic Surgery:

  • Experience–  We have been performing this procedure for over 20 years and have the happy patients to prove it.
  • Surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • Personal care and caring staff– We’re a busy practice but we’ll take the time to listen to your concerns and make sure that your surgery and entire experience is a good one.
  • Accredited facilities–  We only perform this operation at Lawrence Memorial Hospital or the Lawrence Surgery Center, both licensed and accredited facilities
  • We’ll tell you no–  If we don’t think you’re a good candidate for this procedure, we’ll tell you.  We don’t want a disappointed patient!

Go To Gallery